NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has made history again. Not only is it the first spacecraft to reach Pluto, it also managed to capture pictures of Pluto on what would have been Clyde Tombaugh’s 109th birthday. Tombaugh is the person who discovered the dwarf planet in 1930.
In July 2015 New Horizons will actually be the closest to the dwarf planet that any man-made spacecraft has even been. It will then pass it and travel on to the only other thing in the area of more interest than Pluto itself.
Randy Gladstone. The New Horizons mission co-investigator stated: “We’re a long way out there with a tiny spacecraft. It takes about a year to get all that data back so eventually it will all come back and we’ll have plenty to play with for the next 10 years.”
Gladstone also added: “There’s this whole new area out there called the outer solar system where the Kuiper Belt is and Pluto is a member of the Kuiper Belt, but there’s thousands of them out there, and there’s many, many objects the size of Pluto out there that are very interesting looking and they’re a key component of the solar system. The way they were distributed helped form the entire solar system.”
The New Horizons probe will reportedly provide enough data to NASA scientists that they will be able to answer numerous questions regarding both our planet as well as the entire solar system. Sadly, some think that despite the information obtained by New Horizons about Pluto, some people will insist on still debating about whether or not Pluto is now a dwarf planet, a planet or something yet to be determined and labeled.
Gladstone concluded: “I don’t see that debate going away any time soon, there’s so many opinions on it. It’s an interesting discussion, but it’s never going to end I don’t think.”
NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Reaches Pluto