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New Horizons 'Phones Home' That Pluto Flyby Was a Success

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 07:07 AM

NASA confirmed Tuesday evening that its New Horizons probe made a successful flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto.

With a clever nod to the classic Steven Spielberg movie "E.T.," the space agency first announced on Twitter that the craft had successfully transmitted its signal back to Earth.



According to Wired, Pluto is the first new planet that NASA has explored in 35 years, and one of the furthest objects from the Sun. New Horizons was launched in 2006, and has barreled toward Pluto at roughly 30,000 miles per hour for over 9 years — traveling a distance of over 3 billion miles.

During its approach, the probe took a now famous first photo of Pluto, taken from 476,000 miles away from its surface.

After transmitting that photo back to Earth, New Horizons went into an automated sequence, wherein it stopped communication with NASA, and devoted all of its resources to measuring Pluto. It was scheduled to fly within roughly 8,000 miles of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

On Tuesday evening, New Horizon's completed its flyby successfully, finished its automated sequence, turned back toward Earth, and began transmitting data. The first bits of data hit Earth's satellites around 8:52 p.m. Eastern time.

The new, close-up glamor shots it took of Pluto during the flyby are expected to be some of the first things New Horizons transmits back to Earth.

 


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NASA confirmed Tuesday evening that its New Horizons probe made a successful flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto.
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2015-07-15
Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 07:07 AM
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