NASA’s New Horizons made closest approach to Pluto

Jul 15, 2015 09:06 IST

New Horizons spaceNational Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) New Horizons space probe on 14 July 2015 made closest approach to Pluto when it flew 12600 km from the surface of the dwarf planet at an average speed of 49750 kph.

The successful completion of the operation is very significant as the interplanetary probe could send the images of Pluto taken from the nearest point till date after travelling 4.88 billion km from the earth.

About New Horizons

• Its purpose is to study Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt, performing flybys of the Pluto system and one or more Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).
• It was launched on 19 January 2006 as part of NASA's New Frontiers program.
• It was directly launched into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second or 58536 km/h, thus, setting the record for the highest launch speed of a human-made object from Earth.
• In 2007, it made closest approach to Jupiter in February 2007.
• With its successful flyby, Pluto became the first Kuiper Belt object visited by a mission from Earth. Kuiper Belt extends from the orbit of Neptune to approximately 50 Astronomical Units from the Sun.

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Read more Current Affairs on: NASA , New Horizons , flyby Pluto , New Frontiers program , Kuiper Belt

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