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New Horizons probe has arrived at Pluto


Posted on Tuesday, 14 July, 2015 | Comment icon 96 comments

The latest image of Pluto taken 16 hours before the probe arrived. Image Credit: NASA
NASA has confirmed today that the New Horizons probe has successfully made its closest approach to Pluto.
After an epic journey spanning almost ten years and covering three billion miles NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally arrived at the small, distant world of Pluto.

Right now the probe has entered in to its data-gathering mode which means it will be out of contact with controllers on Earth until later on today when a signal is expected to indicate that all is well.

"Pluto was discovered just 85 years ago by a farmer's son from Kansas, inspired by a visionary from Boston, using a telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona," said NASA's John Grunsfeld.

"Today, science takes a great leap observing the Pluto system up close and flying into a new frontier that will help us better understand the origins of the solar system."

Because there is so much data and because the probe is so far away it will take a while for the first high-resolution photographs to be sent back. At its closest approach New Horizons skimmed past Pluto at a distance of approximately 7,750 miles from its surface.

"The New Horizons team is proud to have accomplished the first exploration of the Pluto system," said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern. "This mission has inspired people across the world with the excitement of exploration and what humankind can achieve."

Once the flyby is complete it will take New Horizons 16 months to return all its data to Earth.

Update: NASA has reported that the probe has successfully 'phoned home'.

Source: pluto.jhuapl.edu | Comments (96)

Tags: Pluto, New Horizons

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #87 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 6 August, 2015, 9:31
It will take more than a year just to download all the images and data from New Horizons, so it is unrealistic to expect answers in days.
Comment icon #88 Posted by Astra- on 6 August, 2015, 9:40
Oh - ok - thanks. Patience is a virtue I suppose.
Comment icon #89 Posted by Merc14 on 6 August, 2015, 12:11
I have been wondering if scientists have figured out yet - what those dark patches/spots were along Pluto's equator ? New Horizons closest flyby was back on 14th July - I have tried to find some info - but my PC is very slow atm - it's like pulling teeth. Does anybody know anything ? Cheers.. Run Malwarebytes free version and get rid of some of the likely malware https://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/
Comment icon #90 Posted by Astra- on 6 August, 2015, 22:57
Thanks heaps Merc. I ran the malware - but no nasties were detected. Seems the signal on the Wi-Fi connection was weak which were slowing things down. So I rebooted the router - and the PC - and I have a stronger signal now
Comment icon #91 Posted by Merc14 on 7 August, 2015, 2:05
Thanks heaps Merc. I ran the malware - but no nasties were detected. Seems the signal on the Wi-Fi connection was weak which were slowing things down. So I rebooted the router - and the PC - and I have a stronger signal now You did exactly what I would've suggested except for one thing, pull the power plugs on both the router and the modem and turn off the computer. Then return power to the modem, let it settle in, then power up the router, let it settle in and then turn the computer back on. PM me if you that doesn't help
Comment icon #92 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 7 August, 2015, 6:46
Can we please get back on topic.This really is not the place to be discussing computer problems (unless the computer happens to be on a space craft ). Thank you.
Comment icon #93 Posted by Merc14 on 7 August, 2015, 12:17
Can we please get back on topic.This really is not the place to be discussing computer problems (unless the computer happens to be on a space craft ). Thank you. My fault.
Comment icon #94 Posted by FTWind on 8 August, 2015, 17:48
Waspie what would u say on the chances of multi celled organisms livng in these theorized subsurface oceans on these outer objects
Comment icon #95 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 August, 2015, 18:16
Waspie what would u say on the chances of multi celled organisms livng in these theorized subsurface oceans on these outer objects If the greatest biologists and planetary scientists on Earth don't have the vaguest idea what the answer to that is (and they really don't) then why should an ex-chemist like myself? Anyone that gives you an answer to this is taking a wild guess. Science doesn't deal in wild guesses.
Comment icon #96 Posted by FTWind on 8 August, 2015, 23:55
In all fai rness Waspie I've been readin everyone's comments on every topic for years in this website and of all I repect yours the most


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