Up Close: NASA Spacecraft Zeroes In On Pluto

Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to make history next week when it becomes the first probe to reach Pluto.The spacecraft left earth nine and a half years ago and will have travelled more than three billion miles.

NASA Spacecraft Zeroes In On Pluto

New Horizon will gather data about the planet’s composition during a 30 minute window when it temporarily orbits within 8,000 miles of the surface.

Last week the spacecraft sent back its most detailed photograph of the planet while it was just under five million miles away.

By Tuesday, it will capture pictures 500 times more detailed in a bid to understand more about the planet about which little is known.

The Nasa craft is around the size of a baby grand piano and is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, travelling at around a million miles a day.

It was launched in 2006 and is powered by plutonium.

Scientists want to learn more about the atmosphere of Pluto because it is mainly nitrogen, like Earth’s.

About the Author