Tags: new horizons | pluto | flyby

New Horizons Pluto Flyby: Spacecraft Wakes Up for 2015 Encounter

Image: New Horizons Pluto Flyby: Spacecraft Wakes Up for 2015 Encounter
An artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, currently en route to Pluto, is shown in this handout image provided by Science@NASA. (NASA/Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Monday, 08 Dec 2014 05:27 PM

New Horizons, the NASA spacecraft hibernating 2.9 billions miles away from Earth, is waking up to do a flyby of Pluto, the first close encounter with that distant planet.

The NASA spacecraft has been hibernating since August, but on Saturday, scientists confirmed that the probe is back on track and located just 162 million miles from Pluto.

“After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles — the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6th for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system,” NASA’s Science News announced.

In a video about the mission, which will reach its goal of nearing Pluto in July 2015, NASA said, “No one knows what to expect when the alien landscape comes into focus. There could be icy geysers, towering mountains, deep valleys, even planetary rings. At this point, only one thing is certain — its name is Pluto.”

“I know this will be an astonishing experience, full of history-making moments,” said Adirana Ocampo, of the New Frontiers program, on a NASA video.

It’s a step forward for astronomical knowledge, just as when a flyby was done by Mariner 4 of Mars in July 1965.

Information about Pluto is almost completely unknown because it’s so far away that even the Hubble Space Telescope has difficulty seeing it.

Space fans expressed their excitement about the upcoming mission online.

“Easily the most exciting mission IMO of this decade. Imagine all the things we will see. And the best part is that like the recent fly by of Mercury seen by Curiosity from Mars it will be a first. We are living these moments,” one person wrote on the NASA video about the Pluto mission.





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New Horizons, the NASA spacecraft hibernating 2.9 billions miles away from Earth, is waking up to do a flyby of Pluto, the first close encounter with that distant planet.
new horizons, pluto, flyby
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2014-27-08
Monday, 08 Dec 2014 05:27 PM
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