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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
final frontier

Take a look at Pluto as you've never seen it

As no-one has ever seen it really – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently as close to the distant (former) planet as any probe in history.

THIS IS THE greatest photo ever taken of Pluto, the (now former) planet sitting at the fringes of our solar system.

NASA’s New Horizons probe is currently closer to the ‘dwarf planet’ than any other space probe in history as it performs a ‘fly-by’ of the remote body, the first craft to do so.

NASA is justifiably excited by it all, as you might expect:


New Horizons was first launched in January 2006. In journeying to the far reaches of the solar system the probe has covered 4.67 billion miles (and had stop-offs at the likes of Jupiter).

This morning, the craft passed 7,800 miles from the surface of Pluto.

Pluto was originally discovered in 1930 and for over 60 years was designated as the ninth, and most remote, planet in our solar system.

The redefinition of the term ‘planet’ in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) saw Pluto reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Aside from performing a Top Gun-esque fly-by on Pluto, New Horizons is set to take detailed measurements of the ‘plutoid’ and its five known moons  (of which Charon is the largest and best known).

Read: What’s under the icy seas of Europa? NASA plans to find out

Read: The final approach to Pluto: We live in very exciting times for space exploration

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