Pluto Spacecraft Reconnects With Earthlings

New Horizons makes contact after historic mission
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2015 9:45 PM CDT
New Horizons team members Alan Stern, Ralph Semmel, center, and Will Grundy hold a print of an old US stamp with the words "Pluto Not Yet Explored." They crossed out the middle words.   (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
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(Newser) – The NASA spacecraft that had astronomers cheering this morning with a successful flyby of Pluto had them cheering again tonight when it re-established connection with Earth. The New Horizons craft had gone dark for more than 12 hours as expected while it collected data from the dwarf planet and its moons, and there was some fear that dust might knock it out of commission, reports CNN. Nope: The signal came in right on time, from 3 billion miles away.

The collection part of the mission will be mostly wrapped up tomorrow, and then New Horizons will begin sending back its data—including ever-sharper images, reports the New York Times. It will take 16 months to retrieve it all, with ample opportunity for surprises. “It’s like opening up a birthday present every day from now until the end of the next year,” says one of the mission investigators.

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