20 Things That Show Just How Long The New Horizons Probe Has Been In Space

On 19 January 2006, NASA launched a space probe called New Horizons on a reconnaissance mission to Pluto.

A whopping nine years, five months and 24 days later, the space probe is just one whole Earth day from reaching its destination giving us never before seen images of the last planet in our solar system. Now, nine and a half years sounds like a long time, but it’s even longer when you put it in perspective.

Here are 20 things that show just how long that probe has been travelling.


When New Horizons launched on 19 January 2006:

There was no such thing as a MacBook or an iPhone

The first MacBook wasn't released until 16 May 2006 and the first iPhone didn't appear until 29 June 2007.


George W. Bush was still president of the United States of America

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama didn't become President until 4 November 2008, two and half years after New Horizons launched.


MySpace was still a thing

In June 2006, MySpace became the most visited site in America. It was the most visited social networking site in the world in 2008, attracting 75.9 million unique browsers a month at its peak.


Facebook was not a thing

Facebook was not open for all to join until 26 September 2006. At the time New Horizons launched, membership was limited to employees of certain companies and students of certain universities.


No one had heard of Taylor Swift

Tay-tay released her first self-titled album in 24 October 2006. And it was a country music album. Her first pop album, Red, wasn't released until 2012.


Twitter wasn’t even invented

Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass created Twitter in March 2006 and launched it in July 2006. The last time New Horizons touched our sweet Earth, we lived a Twitterless existence.


Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond

Image: Metro-Golywyn-Mayer

The first appearance of Daniel Craig as James Bond was Casino Royale, which was released on 14 November 2006. Prior to that, Pierce Brosnan was considered James Bond. The best James Bond as far as I'm concerned.


The Beijing Olympic Games were more than two years away

Image: Wikimedia Commons

When the probe launched, we were closer in time to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games than Beijing. Since the launch, we’ve seen not just the Beijing Games but the London Games. At the time that New Horizons reaches its destination, we’ll be just 13 months out from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.


Australia had not met their bitter FIFA defeat

Image: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty

Yep, the launch of New Horizons even predates the Australian FIFA drama.

In June 2006, Australia participated in their second ever FIFA World Cup, the first time they made it into the tournament since 1974. After defeating Japan, drawing with Croatia and losing to Brazil, Australia was the first Oceanic team ever to make it to the knockout stages.

We were then pitted again Italy who used some unusual tactics to get a penalty, after straight up fouling Bresciano (who would have scored). Italian player Fabio Grosso, admitted that he “accentuated” his fall, which resulted in the Italians being awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the game and winning 1-0.

To make matters worse, Italy didn’t lose a single match. Australia was the only team that came close to beating them. Which means that Australia sort of technically could have won FIFA 2006!


Instagram was more than 4 years away from being released

The popular app wasn’t actually available until October 2010. And even then it was only for iPhone. It wasn't available for Android until 2012.


Emma Watson, who looks like this

Image: America Zoetrope and NALA Films/Femina Magazine/Instagram user emmawatson

Used to look like this.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures


Lehman Brothers still existed

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Global financial services firm, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc went from being the fourth largest investment bank in America to declaring bankruptcy in on 15 September 2008.


And no one had heard of the Global Financial Crisis

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Widely considered to be the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, the crisis of 2007-2008 threatened the collapse of some of the largest financial institutions. As a result of irresponsible subprime lending, the resulting crisis sent many countries into recession and we still feel this impacts of this today.


Michael Jackson was still alive

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009 as a result of acute narcotic intoxication after suffering a heart attack.


The Black Saturday Bushfires were still 3 years away

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The events of Black Saturday resulted in 173 fatalities and the destruction of more than 2000 homes. It was one of the worst disasters in Australian history.


Netflix was still a DVD postal business

Netflix started as a DVD subscription service. Members could subscribe and then would have to wait for their movies to arrive in the mail in the form of DVD. They didn’t actually introduce internet streaming into their business model until 2007.


Glory Road was the highest earning film

Image: Walt Disney Pictures

In case you are one of the almost everyone who has no idea what Glory Road is about, it's a classic underdog tale (aren't they all?), inspired by a true story and set against the backdrop of college basketball. It’s a Disney film so it’s actually probably not bad.


No one had ever heard of Nintendo Wii

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Nintendo Wii wasn’t released until 19 November 2006. This is your reminder that you're old now.


Pluto was a still an actual planet

Image: NASA

When the New Horizon’s probe left on its' journey to explore Pluto, Pluto was still considered to be a planet. Just months later on 24 August 2006, the International Astronomical Union revoked Pluto’s planetary status. It was down-graded to dwarf planet status. Poor Pluto.


And I was 15

At the beginning of 2006 I was just 15 years old. That’s a bit weird!

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