Center for American Progress

Continued U.S. Leadership in Robotic Space Exploration

Continued U.S. Leadership in Robotic Space Exploration

Americans can once again bask in the pride that comes from leading—and completing—humanity’s initial exploration of its own celestial backyard.

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idea_bulbAfter a journey of nearly 10 years and more than 3 billion miles, on July 14 the New Horizons probe will fly within 7,750 miles of the surface of Pluto, becoming the first spacecraft to reach the dwarf planet. Pluto and its moon, Charon, are members of one of the last major unexplored regions of our solar system: the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons is an impressive reminder that, while America’s human space exploration program retools for its next steps, the United States continues to lead the robotic exploration of Earth’s closest celestial neighbors.

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