Save New Horizons, the Pluto flyby and Kuiper Belt exploration mission

Save New Horizons, the Pluto flyby and Kuiper Belt exploration mission

August 7, 2023
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This petition had 7,082 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Hoyt Davidson

This petition is supported by the National Space Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, and the Beyond Earth Institute.

Please sign, sponsor and share this petition before the end of September 8th to help us save New Horizons.

  • Launched 2006 at a cost today of $920 million
  • In 2015, first spacecraft to explore the Pluto system
  • In 2019, first to fly by a Kuiper Belt object, the most distant object ever explored
  • Supported by John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and lead by Dr. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute
  • Has seven fully operational scientific instruments supported by a successful team of 17-year veterans
  • Will be transiting Kuiper Belt through 2028, entering interstellar space in the 2030s and expected to operate until 2050

However, with budget constraints, NASA has decided to cut funding for New Horizons and cease its Kuiper Belt exploration starting October 1, 2024 (FY2025). NASA also intends to recompete the New Horizon’s science team in early September, replacing them with a lower cost, helio-physics team. After the global accolades, is that fair? Funding for this spacecraft may be restored at some point after fiscal year 2025, but as a helio-physics mission, not exploring the Kuiper Belt.  Unless this is reversed, the Kuiper Belt mission would be ended prematurely to save single digit millions of dollars, even though the team believes there are important scientific investigations to complete. The Kuiper Belt represents the vast majority of solar system mass to sustain a future spacefaring civilization and take humanity to the stars.  

To better understand the Kuiper Belt's importance to our future, please watch this video clip from Isaac Arthur on Kuiper Belt resources and settlement.


Hoyt Davidson, Executive Vice President, NSS


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