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ORIGINS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
luto, which was long considered the ninth planet of our solar system, actually belongs to the Kuiper Belt, a collection of icy, comet-like objects that orbit the sun in a region beyond the orbit of Neptune. These so-called Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO) are like fossils, having preserved the history of the processes that shaped the outer solar system. From studying Pluto, its moons, and other KBOs, the New Horizons mission will help scientists understand what the solar system was like when those objects formed.
On its way to Pluto in 2007, the New Horizons spacecraft took a few pictures of Jupiter and some of its moons, studying the planet's rings and the Little Red Spot, a massive storm on Jupiter. Juno, of course, will spend more time at Jupiter, which—like Kuiper Belt Objects—will also reveal pieces of the solar system's past.