In July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft will pass by Pluto. Launched in 2006, it is the fastest spacecraft ever and has been designed to investigate this distant planet, and all the other bodies in the space beyond Pluto. Although Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” status a few years ago, it is actually quite a large place, with a diameter of 5000 miles (8000 kms). No spacecraft has ever been able to send back information from Pluto or any of the thousands of bodies thought to be in the Kuiper Belt, which Pluto is a part of. The only detailed visual information we have of Pluto comes from the Hubble space telescope, which recently discovered a new moon orbiting Pluto, bringing the total to five, of which Charon is the largest, with a diameter half the size of Pluto, (This has led to Pluto being considered a double-planet.) The other moons are Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra. Hmmm… does not sound so cozy.

So perhaps we should celebrate this new technological achievement, which will map this planet, astrologically associated with our inner demons and psychological transformation?

Or perhaps we should tremble a little. For it is incontrovertible that the pioneering passage of a space probe past a planet is accompanied by an event on Earth, which clearly mirrors the astrological influences attributed to that planet. Consider the journey of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which were both launched in 1977. Voyager 2 went on to fly past both Uranus and Neptune.

The days during which Voyager sent back the first close-ups of Neptune and its moons – the closest approach was on August 25, 1989 were characterized by remarkable political events on Earth. Two days before – on August 23rd – a human chain was formed, later called the Chain of Freedom, comprised of approximately two million people who joined hands over a distance of 370 miles (600 km) across the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which at that time were republics of the Soviet Union. Shortly after this peaceful demonstration, the Berlin Wall fell, and by 1991 all the Baltic States had achieved independence. This period from 1988 to 1991 was known as the Singing Revolution. At one point over one third of the population were singing at the same time! Ah, Neptune.

As could be imagined, the flyby of Uranus in 1986 evoked less dreamlike and more abrupt events. This was the scene described by a National Geographic journalist in NASA’s press center:

“Tuesday, January 28. As Voyager scientists are preparing to sum up the mission to the press, the space shuttle Challenger explodes. Those clustered in the JPL’s press center share a horrible irony. On one monitor we watch replay after replay of seven lives evaporating over the Atlantic, while on an adjacent TV screen we see the latest triumphant pictures from Uranus.”

Uranus revealed so clearly its explosive nature, after Voyager had gone beyond the seventh planet and reached this first outer planet. The image of Challenger exploding is instantly iconic and recognizable by almost everyone… it is the most seen explosion ever.

Challenger space shuttle explodes

Space Shuttle Challenger explodes: 28 Jan 1986 11.39 Cape Canaveral. AS 6.44 TA

This took place at the exact time of a Sun/Pluto square, with Pluto exactly conjoining the Descendant and the South Node in Scorpio. It is an interesting fact that 24.2 pounds (10 kg) of plutonium-238 were planned to go on board the next shuttle launch in May 1986. Plutonium-238 is far more poisonous and reactive than the plutonium 239 used in atomic bombs. As a consequence there has been a movement towards the use of solar power in space flight.

Earlier the two Voyager spacecraft had passed by Jupiter from January to March 1979 and Saturn from November to December 1980. The first date is significant for the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran, and the establishment of a theocracy in Iran, where mullahs dominate the country to this day. (The religious aspect of Jupiter). This was accompanied by the taking of 52 US hostages at the American embassy in Teheran, who were released 444 days later, minutes after Reagan was inaugurated and President Carter left office. Reagan was elected by a landslide as both Voyager 1 and 2 flew past Saturn in early November 1980 Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979, and the following decade would be dominated by conservatives and republicans. In actual fact there was an earlier flyby of Jupiter by Pioneer 10 at the end of 1973, and this was a time when Richard Nixon was implicated by tape recordings in the Watergate scandal, which led to imminent impeachment and his resignation. (The legal aspect of Jupiter).

Of course the association of events in space with events on earth has characterized astrology since the discovery of Uranus on March 13, 1781. By October 1783 the Montgolfier brothers had launched their famous balloon with a person aboard, and this was the beginning of our exploration of the heavens, from balloons, to planes to rockets… all associated with Uranus. Of course the years 1776 and 1789 were the time of the great revolutions in history – the American and French – which is another signature of Uranus.

Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846, and this was the time when socialist ideology caught hold in Europe, leading to peaceful revolutions in many countries. The first use of an anesthetic was in fact also in September 1846, and subsequent decades saw the beginnings of the establishment of health care for everyone. (And the use of recreational drugs).  In 1839 the first successful photography was performed, which led of course to film, Hollywood and the era of escapism, dream and the manipulation of reality, which Neptune is associated with

One complete Uranus cycle (84 years) after the discovery of Neptune, Pluto was discovered in 1930. At the time it was at 17.46 degrees in the sign of Cancer. This of course was at the time of the Great Depression and the subsequent rise of Fascism. Hitler came to power in 1933. Deuterium was produced in 1931, and further developed into nuclear fission and the bomb. Thus Pluto awakened demons from their slumber, and the nuclear age was born, with the consequent threat to the survival of humanity.

Now, with an estimated time of arrival of July 14, 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft will provide pictures of Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos with astonishing resolution and accuracy through the very latest in camera technology.

New Horizon’s closest approach – 14 July, 2015 7.50. Cape Canaveral UTC

The horoscope here uses coordinates for the launch place, Cape Canaveral, but strictly speaking houses should be ignored, although the moon and planets will be exact. This event takes place one year past a complete Uranus cycle after the discovery of Pluto, with Uranus in Aries, as it was with the discovery of Neptune and Pluto, and Pluto itself is almost exactly opposite its discovery degree. At the closest approach Mars will be in Cancer almost exactly opposing Pluto, and interestingly the new Moon which follows immediately after will be on US Mercury and opposing the US Pluto at 27 Cancer.

Of course, as the USA (Sibley) horoscope has its sun at 13 Cancer and Saturn at 14 Libra, and in the New Horizons chart Pluto is at 14 Capricorn and Mars 13 Cancer, the arrival of New Horizon probe at Pluto will clearly coincide with a crisis in the USA. This will be a culmination of the long Uranus/Pluto square to the US Sun/Saturn aspect, and I think we can expect fallout to take place around this time. This will be in the nature of Pluto, just as Neptune and Uranus manifested in 1989 and 1986 respectively. As the sun represents the President and Saturn Congress, the long struggle will peak. There may also be an outside crisis at this time, and there may of course be something on a more international scale. Naturally handling of any nuclear material or nuclear power stations needs to be extremely careful.

This is also likely to be an uncomfortable time for Vladimir Putin, as his Sun is at 13 degrees Libra. China has its sun at 7 Libra, but Mercury is at 13 Libra and Neptune at 14 Libra, so there are some indications of international events that will affect the major powers and raise the anxiety threshold at this time.

Pluto, like the other outer planets, rules collective trends and though at first glance there often seem to be negative events – like the rise of fascism, the atom bomb, robots, the birth control pill, the computer chip – whose consequences seem to be as enormous as Pluto is small, there is also a totally positive and transformative spin to Pluto. The arsenal of atomic weapons has made war between nuclear powers quite impossible. Robots have liberated men and women from the slavery of repetitive work. The pill has liberated women from biological inevitability. The computer has supercharged the power of human thinking.

Therefore, it is likely that the transformation due as a result of the Uranus/Pluto square and subsequent mapping of Pluto by New Horizons, will complete the job that Pluto’s arrival in Capricorn back in 2008 started. Which will be the leveling, over the next ten years, of systems that have perpetuated power imbalance in society for so long and a society that will ultimately be more egalitarian and fair.

Adrian Duncan – April 2014

1. See NASA video here:


New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto will be at 7:49:59 a.m. EDT (11:49:59 UTC) on July 14, 2015.