by Benson Agoha | Space Science
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto after a 9-year, 3 billion-mile journey and delivered stunning images of the dwarfed planet during a successful flyby.
|Guests and New Horizons team members countdown to the spacecraft's closest|
approach to Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
Photo Credit: via NASA
After a decade-long journey through our solar system, NASA said New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface -- roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India - making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.
In an official news release by NASA, John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said: "I'm delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space."
|Official NASA Photo:|
One of the final images taken before New Horizons made its closest
approach to Pluto on 14 July 2015. Image Credit: via NASA
He said "New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away."
"As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA's multifaceted journey of discovery continues."
NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden said: "The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States," adding "Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match."
To read the full Statement, click: NASA.