FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After nearly 10 years and 3 billion miles, the space probe, New Horizons completed the closest flyby of Pluto ever on Tuesday, according to NASA.
New Horizons came within 7,750 miles of Pluto, making it the farthest celestial body every explored on a space-based mission, NASA said.
The exploration of Pluto and its moons hopes to bring new information about the Kuiper Belt, an outer region that is said to hold information about the infancy of the solar system, NASA said.
“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match.”
New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, traveling at more than 30,000 mph. It will reestablish contact with flight controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physical Laboratory Tuesday evening to send back 10 years of data. The transfer will take approximately 16 months, NASA said.
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