Grand Theft Pluto: New Horizons Gets a Boost From Jupiter Flyby
In this artist's rendering, New Horizons soars past Jupiter as the volcanic moon Io passes between the spacecraft and planet. Image Credit: JHU/APL/SwRI When New Horizons, NASA's Pluto-bound spacecraft, swings by Jupiter on Feb. 28, it will pick up a few souvenirs along the way -- photos, data, and an extra 9,000 mph courtesy of the largest planet in our solar system. The piano-sized spacecraft will gain enough energy to exceed 52,000 mph -- fast enough to reach New York from Tokyo in less than eight minutes. New Horizons will reach the Pluto system in July 2015 – five years earlier than without the Jupiter boost. New Horizons is managed as part of Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office at the Marshall Center.