Images from Pluto keep coming to Earth and a Nebraska science professor who has participated in the project is more than pleased with the results.
Assistant Physics Professor Nathaniel Cunningham with Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln began working with NASA’s New Horizon project in 2007, a year after its launch.
Now, a few billion miles later, a spacecraft traveling 31,000 miles an hour has flown 8,000 miles from Pluto.
“This is the fastest spacecraft ever launched from Earth and still takes 9-and-a-half years to get there,” Cunningham tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Cunningham calls this basic science, basic exploration as New Horizon gives us the first close-up look at what now is considered a dwarf planet along with its five moons.
Cunningham says the debate on Pluto’s status remains active and he jokingly gives permission for the public to keep referring to it as a planet.
New Horizon has sent some incredible images of the reddish-brown “planet” and its moons back, providing a view we have never had before.
Cunningham says more high-resolution images are to come.
“I’m really excited to see what comes down the next few days and we’ll keep getting this waterfall of data for over a year.”
For NASA New Horizon Pluto photos, click here.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]