- NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has become the first spacecraft to reach Pluto, capturing stunning images of the dwarf planet over 3 billion miles away!
- The probe shot past at more than 28,000 miles (45,000km) per hour, to get within 7,750 miles (12,000km) of Pluto’s surface.
- It’s reported that NASA has since confirmed it received a signal from the spacecraft to say it survived the flyby.
- Stephen Hawking highlighted the importance of the achievement in better understanding our solar system and said “We explore because we are human and we long to know”.
- New Horizons blasted off in January 1996, carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh – the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930.
- Although Pluto has since been downgraded to “dwarf planet”, it is hoped that the flyby will see it restored to full planetary status.
- These images replace the tiny pixelated images we’ve had until now, and will help us to better understand the “last unexplored world in the solar system”.