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In which Hank talks about the New Horizons mission at a waterpark. Why? STOP ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Crash Course Kids: https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids
Crash Course about the Kuiper Belt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJscxTyI__s
SciShow: http://www.youtube.com/scishow
SciShow Space: http://www.youtube.com/scishowspace
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Good morning, John, I'm apparently at a water park because it is very hot here.  Also, because my life is amazing and marvelous and one of the other things that's making my life amazing and marvelous these days is that very soon, we will have, for the first time, non-horribly blurry pictures from Pluto

New Horizons has been traveling for nine years - it was launched in 2006. In addition to containing a bunch of scientific experiments, spectrographs, cameras, that kind of thing, it's also carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the guy who discovered Pluto. Which is pretty cool, he gets to like actually go there.

I think there's going to be a conversation about this in the comments no matter what; I just gotta say, Pluto's not a planet. And the reason that Pluto is not a planet is the same reason why I am so excited about the New Horizons mission: which is that Pluto is freakin' weird. Woah!

The Kuiper belt is a ring of really loosely-packed, icy, rocky worlds out beyond the orbit of Neptune, and Pluto is the largest of the Kuiper belt objects. They're so far away we've never studied the Kuiper belt objects, except we kind of have.

Triton is a moon of Neptune that is just a little bit bigger than Pluto and composed roughly of the same stuff. (Splash!) Failure!

Now, we know quite a bit about Triton, because once upon a time we actually visited it. Because Triton orbits Neptune backwards, people think that it was probably captured from the Kuiper belt by Neptune as part of this weird Solar-System-changing event that happened like 4 billion years ago, in which Neptune and Uranus switched places, also potentially causing the destruction of like thousands of Pluto-sized bodies.

Pluto has 5 moons, uh, they're some of the weirdest moons in the Solar System and we didn't even know it had 5 moons until pretty recently. Before New Horizons launched we didn't even know about 2 of them, so now it's headed on it's way to Pluto and there are new moons to watch out for, and there may be more moons we don't even know about, which actually presents danger. The New Horizons could crash into one of those moons, which would end the mission, which would be very sad. We wouldn't even know what happened, because we wouldn't be able to get any data about it. 

Those moons were probably collected on the Kuiper belt which Pluto spends most of its time in. A couple of them have these weird wobbly orbits that so if you were on the surface of them, you would never know when the sun was going to come up. Sometimes the sun would rise in the east and then like, set in the north. 

New Horizons is now more than 4.5 billion kilometers away, and to get there it had to exit Earth's orbit faster than any object ever has before, spend a bunch of time tailing Jupiter and have Jupiter like suck it forward to speed it up even further. It's going so fast now that of course it can never slow down, so it's just gonna blast past Pluto and deeper into the Kuiper belt.

Since transmitting data from 4.5 billion kilometers away requires a lot of fine-tuning, New Horizons cannot take pictures and transmit data at the same time, so as it approaches over the next week it's going to be taking pictures like crazy, but it won't be able to send us any data. 

This is because the transmission speeds are so terribly slow, slower than, like, an early 90s modem, it's going to take months for us to get all the data that we're gonna get from this thing, that is going to give us a truly rich and deep and amazing understanding of this mostly unexplored world. I'm very excited.

John, New Horizons will be making its closest approach on Tuesday, so if you could put a picture on the video that would be fantastic. I'm really excited for everybody to see it, just like you're excited for everybody to see the Paper Towns movie. John! I will see you on Tuesday! (Bubbles blub blub)

We will of course be covering the New Horizons mission like crazy on SciShow, and I encourage you to also check out our new series specifically designed for elementary school students, Crash Course Kids.