• To conserve energy and general wear and tear, the spacecraft has gone into intermittent hibernation, often for months at a time, slumbering for a total of five years. When sleeping, it was almost completely shut down, maintaining only enough power to send a weekly beep home telling mission controllers that it’s doing fine
  • The spacecraft’s systems are programmed to start up again on Dec. 6 at 12:00 p.m. PST/3:00 p.m. EST. An hour and a half later, it will send a signal back to Earth confirming that it’s awake. Because of the distance, it will take more than four hours for the message to reach mission control
  • As it flies by Pluto, the spacecraft will save all of its images and measurements onboard before sending them back to Earth. The total amount of data will take until late 2016 to finish transferring

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