We are About to Get our First Good Photo of Pluto

by Rachel Baker on June 22, 2015

As someone who grew up with Pluto being a planet and oddly congruent with pizza (my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas), I have surprised myself with how excited I am about seeing photos of Pluto. New Horizons was launched in 2006 and will be finally flying past Pluto on July 14.

Mark your calendars!

Read More: A spacecraft launched in 2006 is about to try for our first good photo of Pluto.

A NASA spaceship, New Horizons, is bearing down on the dwarf planet at 32,000 miles per hour. The robotic probe, which weighs half a ton and is shaped like a vacuum cleaner attachment, will fly past Pluto, cameras and instruments ravenously gobbling data, at 7:49 a.m. Eastern time on July 14.

That, at least, is what we can expect to happen given the current trajectory of New Horizons and the laws of physics. But this is not a mission free of hazard. A spaceship traveling so fast — New Horizons is the fastest spaceship ever launched from Earth — can be disabled by a collision with something as small as a grain of rice.

Pluto had been left out in the cold for decades as NASA probes explored larger and flashier planets. Recently, it endured a downgrade among astronomers who declared that it wasn’t a full-blown planet at all. But it’s definitely something intriguing — easily the most famous of the small, icy worlds that inhabit the exurbs of the solar system.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin. You can also follow her writing about women veteran interests at Shield Sisters

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