This post is also available in / Esta entrada está disponible también en: Spanish (Español) .
A mission 10+ years in the making is paying off with exciting pictures from its closest approach to planet Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft arrived at approximately “7,750 miles above the surface” of Pluto, according to NASA.
What makes this a historic occasion? It’s the first space mission to travel and explore a planet at a great distance from our planet Earth.
“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” stated John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”
In its journey, the New Horizons spacecraft has been traveling at 36,000 miles per hour in its 3-billion-mile journey to reach the dwarf planet, sending data including this highly-detailed and amazing photo of planet Pluto.
New Horizons will be transmitting more data back to Earth for the next two decades, after its power shuts down.
We will be expecting more data from NASA later tonight of the farthest planet in our universe at just some 4.6 billion miles away.
Also, take a look at Stephen Hawking congratulating the New Horizons team for its historic achievement.
[Sources]: NASA: NASA’s Three-Billion-Mile Journey to Pluto Reaches Historic Encounter; NASA en Español: New Horizons Ya Está en Plutón.