Imaging the Farthest Parts of the Solar System

LORRI, the “eagle eyes” of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, provided the first close-up views of Pluto and other worlds in the Kuiper Belt.

About the Instrument

Instrument Type

The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is the “eagle eyes” of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. The black-and-white high-magnification camera consists of a telescope with an 8.2-inch (20.8-centimeter) aperture that focuses visible light onto a charge-coupled device (CCD), just like a digital camera.

LORRI Instrument
A 3D rendering of the LORRI instrument, built for NASA's New Horizons mission.

LORRI provided the first detailed, close-up views of Pluto and its moons during New Horizons’ historic flyby in July 2015, before zooming in for the first close-ups of a Kuiper Belt object — an ancient planetary building block named Arrokoth — during an extended mission flyby in January 2019. The powerful camera delivered unprecedented views of the geology on these distant worlds, giving planetary scientists insight into the history and evolution of objects in a region more than 3 billion miles from Earth. LORRI is also gathering long-distance astronomical data on the shapes and brightness of dozens of other Kuiper Belt objects from New Horizons’ unique perch on the outskirts of our solar system.