NASA’s New Horizons mission to the dwarf planet Pluto is attracting international attention to planetary science. And like all recent missions to planets, moons, comets and asteroids, surprising discoveries already abound for scientists on Earth. Giant mountains on the Plutonian surface, and enormous, deep chasms on the Moon Charon, a surprising absence of so-called impact craters on Pluto, and the rich Plutonian atmosphere have all left investigators searching for answers. Today, Wal Thornhill begins a series of reports on the New Horizons mission. We begin by taking a step back to examine the most fundamental concepts about our solar systems origins, and the formation of planets and stars.