After nearly ten years, New Horizons has finally traversed over 3 billion miles of spacetime, having arrived in Pluto’s front yard for its closest approach just minutes ago. Of course, since its signals can’t cross our solar system instantaneously—they, like light, always travel at a finite speed (albeit much faster than New Horizons itself)—the images we will ultimately see are on a slight delay (it may be hours before the first image is released).
The launch of New Horizons coincided with Pluto and Earth’s closest proximity, when they were nearly 3 billion miles (around 5 billion kilometers) apart. Presently, they are separated by about 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers), which further hinders communications between New Horizons and Earth-based operators.
With this in mind, as of 7:30 am EST/EDT, NASA began broadcasting the event as it happens, leading up to the close approach expected to go down at 7:49:57 on the dot. At 8 a.m., they will host the first of a series of briefings to take place over the course of the day. Until then, watch this history-making moment as it happens.
SEE NASA’S LIVE FEED HERE:
New Horizons, The Journey to Pluto:
Image Credits: NASA/JPL//Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute