After 3 billion miles and 9 1/2 years, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto on July 14, 2015, providing us with the first distinct photographs of what was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system.
When New Horizons departed Earth from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006, Pluto still held its title as the ninth planet. Later that year, it was redefined as a dwarf planet.
New Horizons carries the ashes of the man who discovered Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer, discovered Pluto in 1930 at the age of 24.
The photo above was taken by New Horizons on Monday, July 13, and many more detailed images are expected. To put this in perspective, the photo below was our best photograph of Pluto up until now.