Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft will create history of sorts next week when it becomes the first probe to reach Pluto.
The spacecraft, which left earth nine and a half years ago will have completed a journey of more than three billion miles.
New Horizons, spacecraft is expected to orbit around 8000 miles of the surface and will gather data about the planet’s composition during that 30 minute window.
Last week the spacecraft was within the five million miles away from Pluto when it sent what was considered to be the most detailed photograph of the planet yet.
About an hour ago, the Nasa New Horizon tweeted its update, which said that it was just over two millions mile away from Pluto.
— NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons) July 11, 2015
Scientists say that by next week, the spacecraft will be capturing pictures 500 times more detailed than what it earlier sent. This, according to experts will help understand the planet in greater detail.
New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said,”Among the structures tentatively identified in this new image are what appear to be polygonal features; a complex band of terrain stretching east-northeast across the planet, approximately 1,000 miles long; and a complex region where bright terrains meet the dark terrains of the whale.”
The Nasa craft, powered by plutonium, is around the size of a baby grand piano and is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, travelling at around a million miles a day.
Pluto’s atmosphere consists of mainly nitrogen, very similar to Earth’s.