On Pluto's doorstep, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft awakens for encounter

December 8, 2014 4:47 PM

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On Pluto's doorstep, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft awakens for encounter

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles—the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target—NASA's New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6 for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.

Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., verified at 9:53 pm (EST) that New Horizons, operating on pre-programmed computer commands, had switched from hibernation to "active" mode. Moving at light speed, the radio signal from New Horizons—currently more th...

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