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New Horizons successfully flies past Pluto
Posted: Wed, Jul 15, 2015, 10:12 AM ET (1412 GMT)
Pluto seen by New Horizons, 2015 July 14 (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI) NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto early Tuesday, nine and a half years after its launch. New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto at about 7:50 am EDT (1150 GMT), passing approximately 12,500 kilometers above the surface of the dwarf planet. The spacecraft was not in communication with the Earth at the time of the flyby, but at 8:52 pm EDT (0152 GMT Wednesday) controllers received a signal from the spacecraft that it had performed the flyby as planned. Data from the spacecraft will start returning Wednesday, a process that will take more than a year to complete. New Horizons launched in January 2006 on a mission to provide the first closeup look at the world, which had been classified as the solar system's ninth planet from its discovery in 1930 until a reclassification as a dwarf planet in August 2006. Project scientists hope to be able to send the spacecraft past a more distant small object in the Kuiper Belt by 2019.
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