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Spacecraft makes flyby of Pluto after journey of 3 billion miles

The United States is the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system


 
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometres) away from Pluto, right, and Charon when it snapped this portrait  July 8, 2015. Since being discovered in 1930, Pluto has been a deep mystery to the space community.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometres) away from Pluto, right, and Charon when it snapped this portrait July 8, 2015. Since being discovered in 1930, Pluto has been a deep mystery to the space community. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — By NASA’s calculations, we’ve made it to Pluto.

The moment of closest approach for the New Horizons spacecraft came at 7:49 a.m. EDT Tuesday. It culminated an unprecedented journey spanning 9.5 years and 3 billion miles.

Based on everything NASA knows, New Horizons was straight on course for the historic encounter, sweeping within 7,800 miles of Pluto at 31,000 mph. But official confirmation won’t come until Tuesday night, 13 nerve-racking hours later. That’s because NASA wants New Horizons taking pictures of Pluto, its jumbo moon Charon and its four little moons during this critical time, not gabbing to Earth.

NASA marked the moment live on TV, broadcasting from flight operations in Maryland.

The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2006 to shed light on the mysterious icy world, but was demoted seven months later to dwarf status.

Related: Remembering Clyde Tombaugh


 
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Spacecraft makes flyby of Pluto after journey of 3 billion miles

  1. Wow,

    It’s amazing what all of these scholars with doctorates in Womyn, or gender studies can accomplish……..

    errr…wait a minute.

    • Somebody in women’s studies dump you once or what?

      i see no other reason for you to keep rabbiting on about it.

      People in politics, economics, history, commerce etc…..don’t work on space probes either.

      • No,

        I’ve actually never been dumped. Not sure how it feels……..but I’m sure you can let the rest of us know; given your experience.

        Frankly, when I think of the best example of wasted time or wasted money….that is the one field of study (and gender studies) that to me seems to be amongst the most useless.

        Of course, I’m sure whatever educational background you have would also most likely fit into this category.

        • Again, you blather to no point

          If women’s studies don’t interest you…..don’t take them

          Simple enough

          • Emily,

            I am quite profficient at math, science, numerous other skills required by employees.

            I would never have to submit to taking such a non-scholarly major simply to be able to say I have a Univeristy Degree.

            Women’s studies is a field best left to those “useless at anything requiring skill” or hard work.

            I’m sure you have one hanging up somewhere.

  2. Pluto isn’t a good target for an Ozone Layer regeneration test. UV light from the Sun degrades Ozone, so Mercury would be a better test. The Pluto system shouldn’t be polluted. I wonder if there is a historic record and mostly destroyed chemical record of comet impacts in the Pluto ice column? Pluto might be the best way to learn of Kuiper and Oort Belt objects if they are preserved like fossils. It should be possible to slow down using ion engines and get there in orbit in a decade or so (26 years is latest estimate but the ion engine dropped any Enceladus mission time), probably at great risk.

    They said: Japan shouldn’t’ve attacked with anything less than the capability of destroying Pacific ship-building facilities. Delayed USA entry would’ve enabled Germany to win the Atlantic for a bit. ICBMs without IBMs aren’t as accurate (enough to target a Chicago ship-building infrastructure) as long-range bombers. Even if Germany attacked the Eastern Seaboard, bombers would destroy large German Naval targets, leaving/unleashing subs. My city would’ve supplied the Cdn Thunder Bay Naval response. The Midwest would’ve remained intact. Nukes were all Germany could hope for to win.
    Even with (Solar System) space allies it is hard to destroy a missile from space headed to a city. It is tough to missile defense once a missile has left Earth orbit (with the intention of returning to hit a city I suppose). Pluto is a dangerous spot to run away from the Solar System (with a secret AI lab).
    A Treaty isn’t enough. Until good gvmt in Outer Space is solved, no one should have the ability to throw rocks at Earth (cities).
    It is useful to be able to add an Ozone Layer. Maybe one of the Kuiper Belt objects is good for this if it is dangerous to test on Earth?

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