Engaging new scientific horizons

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Science  10 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6244, pp. 121
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8477

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Next week, the New Horizons spacecraft will reconnoiter Pluto and its system of moons on the ragged edge of our planetary system. It may then fly by icy bodies in the Kuiper Belt, more than a billion kilometers beyond Neptune's orbit. These will become the farthest worlds ever explored, ushering in a new era of discovery. Although information from previous planetary probes has helped scientists understand the origin of the inner rocky planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) and the gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune), as well as their moons, this will be the first opportunity to undertake a close-up study of the dwarf planets that are so common beyond Neptune.