Let’s geek out for a second here! Today is a pretty special day. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by our littlest dwarf planet early this morning. It’s pretty incredible to witness this event considering the mission to Pluto has taken 9.5 years!
The New Horizons spacecraft launched in 2006 and has traveled over a billion miles to reach Pluto. According to NASA’s website, the debate over the size of Pluto as ended! They now can confirm the size to be 1,473 miles in diameter. Discovering the size of this little guy unlocks a treasure trove of other information about the dwarf planet including its density and atmosphere. Pluto’s little baby moons were also photographed up close and sizes also confirmed – Charon is around 751 miles, Nix 20 miles and Hydra 30 miles across in diameter.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has an incredible website full of information for the public to read through. Check out the New Horizons Phone Home countdown clock to the right of the home page! Awesome! If you really want to geek-out, check out this New Horizons Photo Archive found on the JHUAPL website! OOOOooooooo!
Hello dear little dwarf planet Pluto! It is so lovely to meet you up close!!