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New Horizons incredible close encounter with Pluto sees some stunning photos beamed back to Earth

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/07/2015

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland celebrate the arrival of pictures of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft yesterday
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland celebrate the arrival of pictures of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft yesterday
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland celebrate the arrival of pictures of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft yesterday
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland celebrate the arrival of pictures of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft yesterday

New Horizons, the fastest spacecraft ever flown, has made history as it shot past Pluto at more than 30,000mph, taking pictures and collecting scientific data.

During the fly-by, the first close encounter with Pluto, the US probe passed within 7,767 miles of it after a nine-year journey.

Earlier, Nasa posted a stunning new image of Pluto on Instagram, taken from 476,000 miles.

It clearly shows the dwarf planet's Mars-like reddish hue, and the heart-shaped feature that has become Pluto's calling card on the internet. Other photos taken from a million miles away revealed evidence of cliffs, craters and chasms larger than the Earth's Grand Canyon. Speaking from mission control at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of Nasa's Science Mission Directorate, said: "It's just amazing. This is truly a landmark in human history."

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