Wake Up, Pluto Spacecraft! New Horizons Emerges From Nap Next Month

New Horizons

New Horizons spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA

It’s not quite the cryogenic sleep featured in Interstellar, but all the same, NASA’s New Horizons probe has spent most of its long, long journey to Pluto in hibernation. So far it’s been asleep periodically for 1,873 days — two-thirds of its journey in space since 2006 — to save energy, money and the risk of instrument failure.

But it’s just about time for the probe to wake up. On Dec. 6, seven months before New Horizons encounters Pluto, the spacecraft will emerge from its last long nap to get ready for humanity’s first flight past the dwarf planet.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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