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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – A spacecraft has sent back the last bit of data from its 2015 flyby of Pluto.
The picture — one of a sequence of shots of Pluto and its big moon, Charon — arrived earlier this week at Mission Control in Maryland. It took more than five hours for the image to reach Earth from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, some 3 billion miles away.
New Horizons swooped past Pluto on July 14, 2015. It’s now headed to another small, icy world in the far reaches of the solar system. That close encounter is targeted for 2019.
Mission managers opted to save all the Pluto data on New Horizons’ digital recorders, in order to maximize observing time. It took 15 months to transmit it all.
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