July 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm #10848
Pluto (minor-planet designation: 134340 Pluto) is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt and the first trans-Neptunian object to be discovered.
NASA’s Three-Billion-Mile Journey to Pluto Reaches Historic Encounter Nasa spacecraft makes history as the first spacecraft to reach distant dwarf planet, the last unexplored world in solar system The probe shot past at more than 28,000mph (45,000 km/h) at 12.49pm BST (7.49am ET) on a trajectory that brought the fastest spacecraft ever to leave Earth’s orbit within 7,770 miles of Pluto’s surface.The spacecraft is currently out of contact with Earth as it continues its observations. New Horizons’ flyby of 2,370km-wide Pluto is a key moment in the history of space exploration.
“It’s just amazing. It’s truly a hallmark in human history,” he said of the encounter with Pluto. “It’s been an incredible voyage.”
July 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm #10850
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In a major coup for Facebook-owned Instagram, NASA agreed to debut its first surface image of Pluto on the wildly popular photo sharing service.July 14, 2015 at 6:34 pm #10851
Not that Instagram is anything new for NASA. Its account is incredibly popular. No, it’s like, really, really popular.July 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm #10852
Scientists were expecting to find a dark, icy world, but the first close up shots sent back from the probe show a rusty tint.
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The image was taken by New Horizons from a distance of 476,000 miles and is the closest ever picture of Pluto taken by Nasa as it approached the new red planet.July 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm #10853
New Horizons image reveals surface formation on planet Pluto that looks uncannily like Disney’s loveable character “Pluto”.July 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm #10854
Alan Stern, the lead scientist on the $700m (£450m) mission, said the increased dimensions meant Pluto must hold more ice and less rock beneath its surface than researchers had expected. Pluto has been hard to measure with any accuracy from Earth because it is so far away, and its atmosphere creates mirages that can fool ground-based telescopes.July 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm #10855
One early image received from New Horizons last week showed Pluto as an orangey globe bearing a large bright spot shaped like a heart. More recent images have revealed cliffs, craters and chasms larger than the Grand Canyon.July 15, 2015 at 4:30 pm #10882July 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm #10883
The dwarf planet has sent a love note back to Earth via our New Horizons spacecraft, which has traveled more than 9 years and 3+ billion miles. This is the last and most detailed image of Pluto sent to Earth before the moment of closest approach, which was at 7:49 a.m. EDT Tuesday – about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth. This stunning image of the dwarf planet was captured from New Horizons at about 4 p.m. EDT on July 13, about 16 hours before the moment of closest approach. The spacecraft was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from the surface. Images from closest approach are expected to be released on Wednesday, July 15.July 15, 2015 at 4:32 pm #10884
The spacecraft, called New Horizons, has spent the last 9 years in space covering over 3 billion miles. So, one more million is like the last 0.2 miles in a 26.2-mile marathon.
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