NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, sent some of its first awesome photographs of Pluto back to Earth as it continues to close in on the frozen planet.
The pictures according to NASA were taken while the New Horizons Spacecraft was just about 203 million km away from the trans-Neptunian ice dwarf.
The New Horizon’s long range space telescopes taking the pictures is someway celebrating the 109th birth anniversary of scientist Clyde Tombaugh who discovered plutoid in 1930.
“My dad would be thrilled with New Horizons. To actually see the planet that he had discovered, and find out more about it — to get to see the moons of Pluto — he would have been astounded. I am sure it would have meant so much to him if he were still alive today,” said Clyde Tombaugh’s daughter Annette.
The photographs are the first pictures taken for the year 2015 as the spacecraft was approaching Pluto. LORRI will take more pictures in the coming months as the mission progresses.
New Horizons project scientist Hal Weaver, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel (Maryland), said, “Pluto is finally becoming more than just a pinpoint of light. Pluto will continue to grow larger and larger in the images as New Horizons spacecraft hurtles toward its targets. The new LORRI images also demonstrate that the camera’s performance is unchanged since it was launched more than nine years ago.”
Modern technology, we never thought of becoming possible, is helping a lot in man’s trailblazing activity in deep space. Man’s foray to the edge of the planetary system of Milky Way, and trying to reach what was once an unthinkable pursuit of reaching Pluto, is now a near reality. This is NASA’s dream and it will come true very soon.
Out of the known nine planets found in our solar system, Pluto stands out as the only unexplored so far. But that will change very soon.
(But it has lost its planetary status by the declaration made by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). It has been demoted to a dwarf planet category was declared plutoid later.
The $700 million New Horizon spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral more than 9 years ago, in 2006 and had its last hibernation in Dec., 2014.
A lot of energy was used according to space flight controllers for several weeks already in preparation for the last phase of its very important voyage.