Pluto will be Explored!

Pluto will be Explored!

Eric Carson, Contributor

For years, Pluto was an undiscovered object located in the Kuiper Belt, a region with mostly ice or dust particles.  On February 18, 1930, Pluto was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. Astronomers considered Pluto a planet because it was strong enough to pull another body, its moon Chiron (it’s moon), into its orbit.  In 2006, Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet.  Since Pluto was so far away, astronomers focused the camera of the Hubble Space Telescope onto Pluto to get an image of its geographical features.  The image that the Hubble Space Telescope caught looked blurry and had to be computer enhanced for a better quality image.  Later that year (2006), a spacecraft called New Horizons was launched by NASA to explore the outer regions of space and to take a closer look at Pluto.  From 2007 until the present, the New Horizons spacecraft  has passedfloated by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and thenhas entered the Kuiper Belt.  On July 14, 2015, the New Horizon’s spacecraft is expected to approach Pluto and examine its features.  This will hopefully allow us a better understanding of what Pluto is like, its formation history, and what bodies surround it and their features.  After this exploration, New Horizons will be exploring the further regions of the Kuiper Belt.