Spacecraft Bound for Pluto Awakens From Multi-Year Nap

December 7, 2014 1:11 AM

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After hibernating for much of the past seven years, the New Horizons spacecraft awoke today on Pluto’s doorstep. Near the margin of the observable solar system, the piano-size space probe is so far from home that even signals traveling at the speed of light take nearly 4.5 hours to get to Earth.

This evening, just before 6:30 p.m. Pacific time, one of those signals broadcast the beginning of a new phase in the spacecraft’s mission to study Pluto: Way out there, in dark, cold interplanetary space, New Horizons is awake and ready to begin doing science.

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