NEW HORIZONS AWAKES
Pluto-bound spacecraft New Horizons awoke from hibernation in December after a journey that has lasted more than nine years. Since launching in 2006, the probe has spent about two-thirds of its time in largely unpowered hibernation to reduce wear and tear on its components.
“This is a watershed event that signals the end of New Horizons’ crossing of a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our Solar System,” says Alan Stern from Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, lead scientist for the mission. The spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto will occur on 14 July.