(ORDO NEWS) — Alan Stern, an American engineer, planetary scientist and lead investigator for NASA‘s New Horizons mission, said the spacecraft passed the 55 astronomical unit (AU) mark.
Recall that one a.u. is equal to the average distance from the Earth to the Sun and is exactly 149,597,870,700 meters.
“This makes it the probe 55 times farther from the Sun than Earth,” Stern wrote on his Twitter account.
The New Horizons spacecraft was launched on January 19, 2006, and on July 14, 2015, it flew within about 12,500 kilometers of the surface of Pluto, returning to Earth detailed images and invaluable data about the dwarf planet system, of which five satellites are part.
On January 1, 2019, the New Horizons probe encountered a mysterious Kuiper belt contact-double object , which was named Arrokoth. After collecting data, the probe rushed further, to the outer limits of the solar system.
So, the human-made probe flew over 8,227,882,888 kilometers, which is almost twice the average distance from Neptune to the Sun. And the mission continues!
We previously reported that NASA and SwRI are considering a plan to launch a new mission to Pluto .
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