|Exploring The Planets
Artist's concept of Pluto-Kuiper Express
NASA scientists have proposed a low-cost reconnaissance mission to Pluto called "Pluto-Kuiper Express". The purpose of the mission will be to gather atmospheric and surface composition data for both Pluto and Charon. This would be accomplished with two high-speed spacecraft that would fly by the Pluto-Charon system. The mission goal is to reach Pluto around 2010 or later. A launch date for the revised Pluto/Charon mission is still under review.
Pluto has never been explored by spacecraft. The Pluto/Charon Flyby mission would give humans the first ever close-up views of Pluto and Charon. If the Pluto/Charon portion of the mission is successful, it may be extended to encounter an asteroid sized object in the Kuiper Disk.
For more information about Pluto exploration:
- Pluto-Kuiper Express - robotic reconnaissance mission to Pluto now in pre-planning stage.
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