On Tuesday NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will get up-close and personal and zoom within 7,800 miles of with Pluto the small icy world left unexplored until now.
Pluto will be the final destination on NASA’s planetary tour of the solar system, which began more than a half-century ago. The journey from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 3 billion-miles and culminates Tuesday at 7:49 a.m. EDT, which is when the spacecraft is due to fly past Pluto at 31,000 mph.
The New Horizons team has gathered in Laurel, Maryland at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and they won’t know if everything went well for hours. The spacecraft will be too busy taking photographs and collecting information to contact home.
However a confirmation signal is expected at around 9 p.m. EDT. New Horizons already has beamed back the amazing images of Pluto and big moon Charon. Pluto also has four little moons.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden didn’t fail to note that the United States is the only country to visit every single planet in the solar system. Bolden also said that Pluto has proven to be bigger and redder than anyone imagined, and the data may put the planet back in the primary planet lineup.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 and is the largest object in the so-called Kuiper Belt, which is considered the third zone of the solar system after the inner rocky planets and outer gaseous ones. This unknown territory is a shooting compilation of comets and other small bodies.
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