The New Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006, and is currently hurtling toward Pluto at more than 35,000mph (nearly 60,000 km/h). It's set to pass the giant ball of rock and ice on July 14th, and when it does it will give us the first real glimpse ever seen of the former planet.
In anticipation of that historic moment, the National Space Society commissioned this beautiful video teaser (conveniently called New Horizons) by the man behind Wanderers, the space-themed short film that went viral late last year. Where Wanderers was all about the places our species might someday go, New Horizons is all about paying homage to the exploration we've already accomplished at a distance.
Most of the video is spent showing off the worlds we've already explored with spacecraft programs like Mariner (Mercury, Mars, Venus), Pioneer (Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon), Voyager (Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus), and Dawn (Vesta and Ceres).
We still don't know what Pluto really looks like
It's all preamble, however, for Wernquist's visual take on Pluto, a world 3 billion miles away. The New Horizons spacecraft will be the first to visit Pluto, so no one is completely sure what Pluto will look like. (There are some fascinating artist's conceptions floating around, but the best real images we have are little more than pixelated blobs.) The two shots we see are colorful and awe-inspiring, and in less than a month we'll see just how right he got it.
Verge Video archive: Space exploration is back