For more than 70 years, Pluto was recognized as one of the nine planets in our Solar System. But back in 2006, members of the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. This was just a few months after NASA launched the New Horizon probe into space.
Now, nine years and 3 billion miles later, New Horizon flew past Pluto and captured this incredible photo. It’s the closest image ever taken of the planet.
The image was taken yesterday, nearly 476,000 miles away from the surface, and took four and a half hours to reach Earth.
As you can imagine, it was an extremely poignant moment for the mission crew.
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) July 14, 2015
“Pluto has turned out to be an extraordinarily complex and interesting world. For the first time, we know that,” said John Grunsfeld of NASA.