Pluto at Last! NASA Spacecraft Arrives for Dwarf Planet Close-Up Tuesday

Mike Wall

On Tuesday morning (July 14) — nine and a half years after launching, and a quarter-century after its mission began to take shape — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will perform history’s first flyby of Pluto. [See the Latest Pluto Photos by New Horizons] The spacecraft is performing very well. On Sunday, NASA and New Horizons scientists unveiled the latest photos from New Horizons, including a tantalizing view of what appears to be canyons and craters on Pluto’s moon Charon, and a new view of the dwarf planet itself. (The dwarf planet orbits about 39 times farther from the sun than Earth does, on average.) That flyby a generation ago marked the last time humanity got its first up-close look at a planet — and left Pluto as the only planet in the solar system yet to receive a spacecraft visit.

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