New Horizons makes Pluto flyby!

Nasa New Horizons 3

On July 14th, after a nine-year journey from Earth, the NASA New Horizons probe had its closest encounter with Pluto. Spectacular imagery is already coming back, showing Pluto as we've never seen it before. NASA scientists have been stunned to find out that the planet is in fact red, and not grey and icy as they previously thought.

Pluto lies 4.5 billion kilometres away from Earth, and the New Horizons probe was launched in 2006. It is currently around 5 million kilometres away from Pluto, and will get as close as 12,500km away on the 14th July, allowing unprecedented imagery of the surface to be taken by the probe's onboard cameras.

The images that are already coming back, some taken from around 8 million kilometres (!!) five days before the closest pass, show stunning dark and light features, including a heart-shaped area, on the surface.

Keep right up to date with the mission and see the latest imagery at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html 

For a one-minute peek at what Pluto is like, check out this video: