The New Horizons spacecraft is now officially en route to Pluto. Technically it’s been en route for about nine years and several billion miles, but on Tuesday its team confirmed that the probe had entered its “encounter sequence” — the set of commands that will carry it through its July 14 encounter with Pluto and the day or so afterwards.
This is where the real science starts.
It’s impossible to describe the childlike excitement of finally getting decent images of Pluto, about which we’ve known so little for so long. The images above are only a taste of what’s to come as New Horizons gets in close during its flyby.
Pluto, I should add, is a planet and nothing less.