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New Horizons Spacecraft Prepares for Pluto Flyby

After nearly nine years in space, New Horizons finally gets a wake-up call.

NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

And you thought your commute was bad!

Nearly nine years after launching New Horizons, a spacecraft dispatched to survey Pluto and its surrounding moons, NASA scientists are waking the probe as it nears its destination nearly three billion miles away.

New Horizons is still six months away from its flyby of Pluto, but scientists roused the robotic probe on Saturday in preparation for its long-anticipated study of the icy former planet.

Despite a near decade-long journey, New Horizons won’t actually be stopping at Pluto. In fact, it’ll be racing past it at 27,000 miles per hour, according to the mission’s website. After its Pluto flyby (scheduled for next July), the spacecraft will travel to the Kuiper Belt, a ring of frozen planets surrounding our solar system.

One space-related group, the Planetary Society, is hosting some live coverage of the awakening on YouTube Saturday evening. It will include conversations with members of the New horizons team, and you can watch it below at 6 pm PT.

This article originally appeared on

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