New Horizons Reaches Pluto
“Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft has made the first visit to Pluto, speeding past at 14km per second. Earlier, the space agency released the most detailed picture yet as it hurtled towards the dwarf planet on Tuesday. The probe was set to grab more pictures and other science data on the object, as it passed 12,500km from the surface. Controllers got a last health status report, before the robotic craft turned its antenna away from the Earth to concentrate on its target. Only when New Horizons has its trove of images safely in its onboard memory will it call home again. This is not expected to happen until just after midnight (GMT) into Wednesday. It means there will be a long, anxious wait for everyone connected with the mission, as they hold out for a signal that will be coming from almost five billion km away.”
It’s incredible to think that we have a satellite orbiting a dwarf planet, sending back data, from a distance of five billion kilometres. Star Trek distances.
Update: just look at this tweet