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NASA spacecraft dashes by world beyond Pluto

3 years 9 months 2 days ago Tuesday, January 01 2019 Jan 1, 2019 January 01, 2019 11:19 AM January 01, 2019 in News
Source: Associated Press
Photo by NASA: An artistic rendering of New Horizons flying by Ultima Thule

MARYLAND - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has survived humanity's most distant exploration of another world.

Ten hours after the middle-of-the-night encounter 4 billion miles away, flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, received word from the spacecraft late Tuesday morning. Cheers erupted at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, home to Mission Control.

An anxious spill-over crowd in a nearby auditorium joined in the loud celebration.

New Horizons zoomed past the small celestial object known as Ultima Thule 3 ½ years after its spectacular brush with Pluto. Scientists say it will take nearly two years for New Horizons to beam back all its observations of Ultima Thule, a full billion miles beyond Pluto. At that distance, it takes six hours for the radio signals to reach Earth.

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