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This 3-minute film will get you excited about NASA's mission to Pluto

If you're excited about space exploration, this trailer for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto will give you chills.

The short film, made by Erik Wernquist and the nonprofit National Space Society, perfectly captures what makes this probe — scheduled to reach Pluto for the first time on July 14 — such a huge deal.

In the 1960s and '70s, the Mariner missions showed us Mars, Venus, and Mercury, and in the '70s and '80s the Pioneer and Voyager missions showed us Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus in detail for the first time. In much the same way, New Horizons will give us a close-up view of something even farther away: Pluto.

Right now, the probe is already sending back the most detailed images we've ever taken of Pluto — but the dwarf planet still only appears as a hazy point of light. For instance, this image, released by NASA today, shows Pluto with its largest moon, Charon, in orbit around it:

(NASA)


Still, this is nothing compared to what we're going to see in just three weeks. At its closest pass, New Horizons will come within about 6,200 miles of Pluto, revealing an entirely unknown landscape for the first time.

As the mission's principal investigator Alan Stern said during the release of a new batch of images back in April, "We’re going to turn points of light into a planet and a system of moons before your eyes."


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