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Ready for its close-up: First spacecraft to explore Pluto

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CAPE CANAVERAL- NASA's New Horizons spacecraft gets up-close and personal with Pluto today.

The spacecraft was sent to collect images and data from Pluto to send back to Earth. Chris Kersey, from the Highland Road Park Observatory, says the information will take some time to travel from the probe back to earth.

"It's going to be 45 hours of light travel time for it to get back, and there's so much data that it's going to take a few hours and a couple of weeks for all of it to be downloaded," said Kersey.

It's on track to zoom within 7,800 miles of the small icy world, which hasn't been explored until now.

Pluto was still considered a full-fledged planet when the spacecraft began its journey 9½ years ago. Since then, it has covered more than 3 billion miles to reach the now-dwarf planet.


New Horizons has already beamed back the best-ever images of Pluto and big moon Charon on the far fringes of the solar system.

 

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