Hello, Pluto!

TUESDAY morning, the United States became the first country to reach Pluto – and the first country to explore the entire classical solar system: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, noted Dr. John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“NASA’s New Horizons interplanetary probe has been making its way to Pluto since January 19, 2006, and has been providing the world with the sharpest photos ever seen of our Solar System’s most prominent “dwarf planet.” Today, it made its closest approach to Pluto yet — about 8,000 miles — at around 07:49:57 EDT,” he noted.

Despite traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), the photo took four and a half hours to reach us here on Earth as it crossed the 3 billion miles between here and Pluto.