The spacecraft is still three month away from the close encounter of the planet, but it is still in the viewing range and has sent first ever color image of the planet Pluto and its moon Charon.
Pluto was once considered as the ninth planet of the solar system but was declared as dwarf planets when other similar planets were discovered in the distant orbits around the sun.
The solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago.
The diameter of the Pluto is 1,430 miles or 2,302 km. In the photo sent by the spacecraft to the space agency, the planet is visible as a bright color dot.
The spacecraft was launched from Florida in January 2006; the spacecraft will be covering 3 miles journey to the Kuiper Belt region of the solar system located beyond Neptune.
The belt is having frozen remnants from the formation of the solar system.
The spacecraft will pass 7,750 miles from Pluto’s surface on July 14.
The engineers will analyze the photo and this photo will serve as road map to tweak New Horizons approach.
The New Horizon is not having fuel to put itself in the orbit of the Pluto to examine the planet but it will make its observation on the fly.
Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory said, “Our team has worked hard to get to this point, and we know we have just one shot to make this work, we’ve plotted out each step of the Pluto encounter, practiced it over and over, and we’re excited the ‘real deal’ is finally here.”
After the spacecraft makes close study of the planet and the five moon of the dwarf planet, it will head towards the Kuiper Belt.
It will study the atmosphere, geology map the composition and temperature of Pluto and Charon, and study other moons of Pluto.
The spacecraft is having camera and six other instruments for scientific examination.