Cheers and applause from NASA scientists this morning as history was made as a tiny spacecraft flew by the dwarf planet of Pluto after a nine year journey.
New Horizons’ principal investigator, Alan Stern describes what he has seen of Pluto so far from images sent back just before the fly by.
“On the surface we see the history of impacts. We see a history of surface activity in terms of some features we might be able to identify as tectonic indicating internal activity in the planet at some point in its past or maybe even in its present.”
Mission operations manager Alice Bowman says today set a new bar for what humankind can do.
“It is truly amazing that human kind can go out and explore these worlds. To see Pluto be revealed just before our eyes it is just fantastic. I can’t wait until we get these images down starting early tomorrow morning.”
New Horizons is busy gathering more information now and should send a signal to NASA this evening informing them it is okay.
Just before the fly by New Horizons sent back a high resolution picture of Pluto providing us with the clearest picture we have ever seen of the dwarf planet.
If so then tomorrow it will begin to transmit what NASA scientists are calling a 16 month long data waterfall from the Pluto flyby.