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Everything you should know about NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission

Shweta Sengar | Updated on: 14 July 2015, 17:57 IST

The world is waiting in anticipation for NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to say hello to Pluto in the closest flyby of the dwarf planet. Here are some interesting facts you must know about the mission, the spacecraft, and Pluto.

The flyby

- The historic flyby will take place today. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make the closest encounter with the dwarf planet at 7:50 am on Tuesday, 14 July (11.50 GMT). At this point, the spacecraft will pass within 9,977 kilometers of Pluto.

- During the flyby, New Horizons will collect and send the data about Pluto's geology, surface composition, temperature and atmosphere.

About Pluto

- The size of the planet is believed to be bigger than what the scientists actually thought.

- Recent measurements obtained by New Horizons indicate that Pluto has a diameter of 2,370 kilometres, 18.5 per cent that of Earth's, while Charon has a diameter of 1,208 kilometres, 9.5 per cent that of Earth's.

About New Horizons

- The spacecraft has travelled for over three billion miles.

- The journey was done in a span of nine years.

- The spacecraft has send back the most clear images of icy planet Pluto and its biggest moon Charon.

All about the mission

- The unmanned mission by NASA was launched in the year 2006.

- New Horizon's weighs around one thousand pounds.

- The spacecraft is travelling at the speed of 31,000 miles per hour.

- The compact spacecraft is almost the size of a grand piano, and runs on just 200 watts of power.

- The power is generated from the heat of 24 pounds of radioactive plutonium dioxide.

First published: 14 July 2015, 13:48 IST