Pluto: A close encounter with a far away planet

Americas Now

Pluto Pluto nearly fills the frame in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015 when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. PHOTO/NASA/APL/SwRI

It’s a milestone in space exploration half a century in the making. The first close-up images ever taken of the planet Pluto.

Imagine visiting a place no one has been to before, a place no one has ever seen other than from a long, long way off. Well, the NASA spacecraft just made a close encounter with such a place at the very edge of our Solar System, Pluto.

The spacecraft is called New Horizons and has travelled almost 5-billion kilometers at over 50,000 miles an hour to get at close range of Pluto. Could what it finds be the gateway to a new galaxy?

Correspondent John Zarrella shows us some images of Pluto. He also visits Laurel, Maryland to talk to the scientists and engineers behind the historic New Horizons mission.

Once New Horizons has Pluto in its rear view mirror, the spacecraft will continue heading outward with its sights set on two more objects scientists want to look at. Both of those are one and a half billion kilometers and three years travel time from Pluto.

Pluto: a close encounter with a far away planet

Pluto: a close encounter with a far away planet

It’s a milestone in space exploration half a century in the making. The first close-up images ever taken of the planet Pluto. Imagine visiting a place no one has been to before, a place no one has ever seen other than from a long, long way off. Well, the NASA spacecraft just made a close encounter with such a place at the very edge of our Solar System, Pluto.