Nine years since its launch in 2006,
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft
has flown 3.1-billion miles
to rendezvous with our distant most
"dwarf planet", Pluto.
For the first time ever,
crystal clear images are returning
showing Pluto to have a suprising
Mars-like reddish hue, and
a heart shaped feature on its surface.
(We love you, Pluto.)
There's enough plutonium on board
to fuel New Horizons until 2035,
so the spacecraft will continue to
send back images of distant discoveries,
beyond our own solar system.
The ashes of Clyde Tombaugh (shown here)
are attached to the spacecraft,
as a fitting tribute to the astronomer
who discovered Pluto in 1931.
Tombaugh will be the first person to
fly beyond our solar system.
(Photos: Courtesy of NASA)