Gizmodo’s article on how NASA was able to get New Horizons to Pluto in less than 10 years is a fascinating read that I highly recommend.
Some key takeaways…
New Horizons had to travel an average of about a million miles a day, every day, for nearly 10 years to reach Pluto.
New Horizons was flung away from the Earth at solar system escape velocity, roughly 36,000 miles per hour.
New Horizons ten year, 3 billion-plus mile journey would be basically propulsion-free.
A massive gravity assist from Jupiter helped it reach the velocity necessary to achieve it’s goal.
New Horizons will scream past Pluto and eventually join Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in interstellar space.
NASA’s New Horizons mission is an amazing achievement for mankind and I can’t wait to see the images that it sends back when it makes it’s closest approach to Pluto on July 14th.