A Discovery Nine Years in the Making
NASA released photos on Wednesday that show details that astronomers have only dreamed of: first images captured of Pluto’s moons by New Horizons probe in 2015.
In the above video you will see the first photos taken of Pluto’s moons: Hydra and Nix. As you may know, Pluto actually has five moons which also include Charon, Styx, and Kerberos. New Horizons was launched in 2006 to learn more about Pluto and its moons. Now, exactly 85 years after it was first discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, we have these amazing long-exposure images taken some 125 and 115 million miles away.
“It’s thrilling to watch the details of the Pluto system emerge as we close the distance to the spacecraft’s July 14 encounter,” New Horizons member John Spencer said in a press release. “This first good view of Nix and Hydra marks another major milestone, and a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of Pluto’s discovery.”
Of course, these won’t be the only photos taken of Pluto and its moons. Since waking up from its hibernation period, New Horizons has begun to take pictures and slowly take data as it approaches the well-known dwarf planet. It will eventually be able to capture images of Styx and Kerberos as it gets closer.
New Horizons is set to reach Pluto’s system this summer on July 14.