Pluto Spacecraft Sends Photos As Excitement Builds for Flyby
After the New Horizons spacecraft briefly went silent, NASA quickly returned it to full operations and has released bizarre new photos of Pluto.
Pluto will get its closeup in less than a week, despite a heart-stopping glitch that briefly silenced the New Horizons spacecraft over the holiday weekend. Now, the craft is back in action and entering what NASA calls encounter mode—where gathering data about the frosted world trumps just about everything else.
At 12:34 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, New Horizons’ computers will initiate thousands of autonomous command sequences that will direct, the piano-size robot to learn as much as it can about Pluto and its five moons. (Learn more in National Geographic's July cover story on Pluto.)
“The spacecraft is ready now to execute the nine days of flyby operations,” said the mission's principal investigator, Alan Stern of the