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Time to Wake Up - New Horizons Approaches Pluto
Posted by Guy Pirro on 11/17/2014 8:07 AM
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft comes out of hibernation for the last time on December 6th. Between now and then, while the Pluto-bound probe enjoys three more weeks of electronic slumber, work on Earth is well under way to prepare the spacecraft for a six-month encounter with Pluto that begins in January. Since launching in January 2006, New Horizons has spent 1,873 days in hibernation -- about two thirds of its flight time -- spread over 18 separate hibernation periods from mid-2007 to late 2014 ranging from 36 days to 202 days long. Sometime during this flight, Pluto went through an amazing and unprecedented transformation. When New Horizons was launched, Pluto was the ninth planet in our Solar System. Now it has evolved into a dwarf planet that is so small it cannot clear other objects out of its path.
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