After Pluto what are new horizons plans?

  1. I know that they planned on going to Pluto then another Kuiper belt object, but have they found another besides Pluto? And what are they going to do after that, are they going to shoot for space like the voyager spacecraft?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    There are known Kuiper belt objects, but as far as I know New Horizons does not have a clear target yet.

    It will certainly leave the solar system afterwards, there is no way to stop it (apart from a direct impact somewhere, but that is not planned).
     
  4. SteamKing

    SteamKing 9,618
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    It's not clear who 'they' are. Are you talking about an unmanned probe? Remember, there are Voyagers I and II, and also the earlier probes Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, both of which have at least a 4-year head start in leaving the solar system.
     
  5. The they was anyone at all. Hence the vagueness. NH is due to arrive at Pluto next year, was this faster than either of the voyagers?
     
  6. SteamKing

    SteamKing 9,618
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    It's hard to say, since none of the older four probes flew near to Pluto on their journeys out of the solar system.
     
  7. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    New Horizons needed just 13 months to reach Jupiter, and it passed the orbit of Saturn after 31 months.
    Voyager 1 needed 18 months to reach Jupiter and 38 to reach Saturn.

    So NH had a better start, but no gravity assist from Saturn.

    New Horizons will need 8 years 7 months to cross the orbit of Neptune, Voyager 2 needed 12 years to reach Neptune.

    I guess NH is still faster up to Pluto, but not far away in space - it will leave the solar system slower than the Voyager probes.
     
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