In case you’ve been living under a rock, NASA made history earlier this week. Its New Horizons spacecraft–launched almost a decade ago into the great abyss of space–completed the now-famous “Pluto flyby” just a few days ago.
Up until a few days ago when New Horizons did the Pluto flyby, all we had in terms of pictures of pluto were blurry snapshots taken from thousands and thousands of miles away. With its flyby earlier this week, though, we now have crystal-clear images, the likes of which we could’ve never imagined even a few months ago.
On July 14th, New Horizons buzzed by Pluto and its five known moons, coming within 8,000 miles of the dwarf planet. It will take some 16 months for us to receive all the data from New Horizons, but the photos we’ve gotten back already are, in a word, amazing.
To commemorate this historic occasion, here are our five favorite photos from New Horizons’ Pluto flyby, courtesy of NASA:
Among the other reasons the Pluto flyby is so incredible, consider this: New Horizons traveled three billion (with a ‘B’) miles to get to Pluto. The whole time, it was traveling around 36,000 mph and covered at least three quarters of a million miles per day throughout its journey. If you were to hop in your car at Interstate speeds, it would take you 4,900 years to cover the same distance! Sheesh.
This truly is an incredible time to be alive. What’s next? We’re not sure. But in the meantime, you’ll find us here, continuing to admire these incredible photos of our favorite dwarf Planet.