Image credit: Twitter – @NASANewHorizons
Just a brief post today, as we celebrate a momentous occasion in the history of space exploration.
After travelling for 9 years and 5 billion kilometres, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is making its closest approach to Pluto. This image, captured 766,000 km from the surface, is the most detailed image of the dwarf planet ever recorded. It is no longer a blurry grey dot. A whole world is coming into focus – craters, valleys, ice fields, and that enormous bright heart.
The New Horizons mission has already given us a wealth of knowledge: it recently confirmed Pluto’s size to be 2,370 kilometres in diameter, meaning it is the largest of the known solar system bodies beyond Neptune (sorry, Eris).
Even more detailed images can be expected in the coming days.