Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.
Space & Innovation

From the Start, Pluto was a Puzzle: Timeline

The path to Pluto is riddled with false starts and mistaken identities, but Mother Nature has been kind to its explorers. Here’s a look at some of the key moments leading up to humanity’s first close-up look at Pluto.

Published On 07/08/2015
7:00 AM EDT
Tombaugh used a "blink comparator" to look for changes in the positions of stars on astronomical plates. | Lowell Observatory
The original astronomical plates that were used to make the discovery of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. | U.S. Naval Observatory
NASA's New Horizons' journey to the outer solar system has taken nearly a decade. | NASA
A Hubble Space Telescope observation of Pluto and moons Charon, Nix and Hydra. | NASA/ESA
New Horizons launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Jan. 19, 2006. | Ken Thornsley/NASA
Artist's impression of the New Horizons probe during its Pluto flyby. | NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Steve Gribben/Alex Parker