By Kathleen Horner

Paper Model of New Horizons Spacecraft

In this month's AstroCrafts blog it's all about Pluto. I will be sharing how to build a small paper model of the New Horizons spacecraft for older children and Janet's Planet Dear Pluto Letter campaign for younger children (really all ages!)--two very creative, exciting and educational projects!

About the New Horizons Mission

We're almost there! The whole world is waiting in great anticipation for the historical New Horizons spacecraft Pluto flyby on July 14th this year. Think about it--all this is going to take place 3 billion miles away from Earth. On this historic date, the spacecraft will approach within 7,750 miles of Pluto and 17,900 miles within its moon, Charon. While the spacecraft flies by Pluto a flurry of high resolution photos will be taken of its surface with areas as small as 200 feet across. As of this writing, the mission is running smoothly and tantalizing new images are being captured of Pluto and its moon, Charon.

The best way to keep up-to-date and learn more about the mission is to go to NASA's New Horizon page at this link:

And if you want to get really inspired by this trail blazing mission, watch this eye-popping video:

Image Credit NASA

How to Build the New Horizons Paper Model Spacecraft

Okay! Let's build a paper model of the spacecraft. This particular project is geared for children ages 10 plus and will probably require some adult help and supervision in assembling the spacecraft model--a fun project for both parent and child. The effort will be very rewarding and educational as each step describes in detail the many different parts of the spacecraft. By the time you have finished building the model, you will have a good understanding of how the spacecraft works. Below are the links to the printable instructions and paper model cut outs.

Janet's Planet Dear Pluto Letter Campaign

Credit: Janet's Planet Dear Pluto Letter Template

For those children under the age of 10 unable to participate in the New Horizons paper model activity, there is another Pluto project just as exciting and educational which combines art, writing and video presentations. I was honored to have been invited to design the template for Janet's Planet Dear Pluto letter writing campaign and it has been so rewarding to see the many unique and creative responses from children around the world. What better way for children to participate in this ground breaking moment in the history of humankind's exploration of space! Below is a description of the program taken from Janet's Planet website:

"Targeted at kids but open to humans of all ages, the #DearPluto project is designed to create conversation and excitement about the historical discoveries that New Horizons will make as it takes the first ever photographs of this tiny world and what lies elsewhere in the Kuiper Belt.

Space exploration, science and a public conversation...

The #DearPluto Project invites people from all over the globe to write, tweet, post, comment, and video their letter to Pluto with the hashtag #DearPluto. You can express your thoughts, feelings, and well-wishes for a planet whose been through the astronomical ringer. New Horizons will clarify, and perhaps even right some planetary wrongs.

To join the conversation and for more details, visit"

And to read an up-to-date article and watch a cute video from a child's perspective about Janet's Planet Dear Pluto campaign, click on the link below:


(1) The Pluto Song!

(2) NASA Television Coverage and Media Activities for Pluto Flyby activities-for-pluto-flyby

(3) New Horizons Activities (Lesson Plans and Paper Models)

(4) Did you know there are nine secret items hidden on the New Horizons spacecraft?


    You need to be logged in to leave a comment