About 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest pass by Pluto, coming within 7,800 miles of the surface.
The crowd, which included the children of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930, cheered.
As soon as it arrived, New Horizons was leaving, speeding along its trajectory at 31,000 miles per hour.
For now, no one knows how the spacecraft is faring.
New Horizons, which is in the middle of 22 hours of automated scientific observations, will not check in with mission controllers for several more hours, with the signal scheduled to arrive on Earth at 8:53 p.m. By Wednesday, the spacecraft will be mostly finished with the data-collecting phase of the mission and begin sending back the trove of information for scientists to delve into.
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