NASA’s space vessel New Horizons had confirmed that it is fully functioning and transmitted information back to Earth after travelling for nine and a half years. The vessel had taken a photo of the farthest planet in the Solar System. It is considered an “Apollo Moment” by the press as it has pushed yet again mankind’s craving for exploring the solar system and the universe.
Scientists first discovered Pluto 85 years ago. Due to its distance, it was yet to know more about the planet. NASA confirmed New Horizons to be functioning and it had completed its lengthy tour throughout the solar system.
The project, costing about $720 million, will have the probe never to return to earth. However, its achievement marks a new era for space exploration. Mission scientists believe the achievement of New Horizons will mean the golden age of the space program.
The vessel had captured photos of Pluto and Charon, its satellite. NASA has posted a preview of the photos in its Instagram page. The planet has a smooth appearance and some ragged edges. Pluto has an atmosphere composed of frozen gases, nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.
The New Horizons was launched in 2006 and was to complete humanity’s first look at the solar system’s original nine planets. The observation of Pluto will yield more answers to the solar system’s formation and history.