After remaining a planet for 76 years, Pluto in 2006 was categorized as a dwarf planet. Scheduled to reach Pluto by 2015, NASA’s New Horizon Mission was expected to bring life to the formerly forgotten planet. That moment has finally come, with New Horizon spacecraft signalling back to the home-Earth.
Mankind is exuberant on hearing the news from New Horizon spacecraft about the historic flyby of Pluto. A distance of 3 billion miles and harsh conditions around Pluto could not stop the enthusiastic and passionate NASA workers and scientists from making this mission a huge success. The news came in from New Horizons this Tuesday 13 hours after the flyby actually happened.
After an interminable journey of 9 1/2 years, New Horizon spacecraft has finally reached its final destination-Pluto. The mission was launched on January 19, 2006 and Pluto was considered a planet back then. The spacecraft is in perfect condition and has successfully survived the flyby which was thought to be a very difficult task. The mission operations manager Alice Bowman said,” We have a healthy spacecraft. We’ve recorded data of Pluto’s system and we’re outbound from Pluto. Just like we practised, just like we planned it. We did it.” reported by Foxnews.
The spacecraft journeyed within 7700 miles of the dwarf planet and was planned to go past the planet onto the far side for collecting information and data for studying the planet. The speed of its journey in the space is 31,000 miles per hour. The photos sent back to the Earth by the spacecraft show roughly 11000 feet high mountains and ridges made of ice water. The ridges and mountains makes us think of the recent geologic activities going on at the dwarf planet.
Very little of the data from New Horizons spacecraft has been downloaded till now and is still being downloaded. The data collected over 9 years of time will definitely take a lot of time. 99% of the data collected during the mission is yet to be downloaded and will take about 16 months to finish off the job. The best photos of Pluto taken at the time of flyby have already been released by NASA and have promised even better photos in the time to come.
Everyone is excited and why shouldn’t they be? The dwarf planet has sprung back to life after getting everyone’s attention. There has
been celebrations and parties all around and particularly by NASA. There has been great buzz about the historic flyby. Social media has seen hundreds and thousands of messages and post pertaining to Pluto’s visit by New Horizons, suggesting that everyone is ecstatic.
New Horizons mission has come to realization at a cost of $720 million however, the scientists are hoping that it would do wonders in restoring the status of Pluto. Everyone is interested and excited about what’s coming up next. Will Pluto be declared a planet or will it just stay as a dwarf planet: the second largest after Eris. Will the New Horizons Mission be able to restore the honour of Pluto after its huge success? This is a mystery which only NASA can solve!