In January of 2006, NASA's New Frontiers program launched New Horizons, an ambitiously crafted space probe that was designed to travel farther into the universe than ever before. The mission represented the ultimate journey into the unknown. The thrilling new documentary Pluto and Beyond opens 13 years later as an anxious group of planetary scientists await the probe's arrival at its final destination - Ultima Thule, a mysterious object residing beyond the far reaches of Pluto. With the help of expert engineering, precise calculations, and good ole plain luck, the probe's findings could mark the next evolution in our understanding of the universe.
In the lead up to that glorious moment, the probe must navigate a lengthy series of potential perils. For example, the vessel would be irrevocably damaged if it were hit by an object the size of a single grain of sand along its journey.
For years, a team of NASA scientists have awaited data transmissions from the probe with bated breath. We share in the anxiety of their every setback, and the celebratory giddiness of their every triumph. We're fully invested in their mission as we meet the figures who have been instrumental in the probe's creation, launch and ongoing process through billions of miles of space travel.
The filmmakers also share with us the awe-inspiring imagery the probe captures along its route. We witness the first portrayal of a volcanic eruption on the surface of Jupiter, and feast our eyes upon a series of snaps that deepen our knowledge of Pluto's history, atmosphere and terrain. Regardless of its final outcome, the probe has uncovered seismic discoveries that will forever redefine the future of space exploration.
Produced by the award-winning science documentary series NOVA, Pluto and Beyond provides a thorough history of the mission and the efforts that led to its inception. These segments are complimented by stunning animations, interstellar imagery and expert commentary from dedicated researchers and scientists. Interspersed with this essential narrative is a thrilling real-time perspective on the final stage of this groundbreaking mission. The film brings complex science to life with great suspense and wonder.