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A Spacecraft Is About To Fly Past Pluto And People Are Getting Excited

Pluto may not be a planet anymore, but it's still a big deal in our hearts. Now we're going to get a chance to see it up close for the first time.

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On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons probe will fly right by Pluto.

At closest approach it'll be 7,750 miles away. That may not sound close, but it's a tiny fraction of the three billion miles the spacecraft has traveled over the last nine years to reach the dwarf planet.

Wait, what--tomorrow? Can it be so? WOW, it is!

We've never visited Pluto before, so it's a pretty significant occasion.


We're almost at Pluto closest approach! Tuesday's flyby is scheduled for 7:49 am EDT. #PlutoFlyby

New Horizons has been on its one-way trip to Pluto (and beyond) since it launched in 2006.

It's not just amazing that we're under 24 hrs from Pluto; it's amazing that we found it at all. So small, so far.

I looked up at the sky a few minutes ago and thought about @NASANewHorizons - poor little guy must be freezing right now. Pluto in 48hrs....


So people are getting pretty excited for it to finally arrive.

We're with you - New Horizons guys arriving at PLUTO !!! Rock !!! Bri

plutoplutoplutopluto #pluto #plutoplutopluto

Some are even dressing for the occasion.

And, of course, the spacecraft has its own parody Twitter account.

Suck on that, @NASA_Hubble! #PlutoFlyby

The encounter will be fleeting, but we'll get a ton of data and new, close-up pictures.


New Horizons will be at its closest to Pluto at 7:59 a.m. ET and shortly after this we'll get a photograph. Then the spacecraft will be out of communication with Mission Control for a lot of the day while it gathers data about Pluto.

You can follow the closest approach on NASA TV β€” see the full schedule here.

In fact, we've already been learning a lot about Pluto and its moons in the run-up to closest approach.


And getting some beautiful new photos, including this one of Pluto and its moon Charon. Who knew Pluto is actually kind of reddish in color?!


After it leaves Pluto, New Horizons will fly off to study an object in the Kuiper belt, a billion kilometers past Pluto.

By this time tomorrow, #Pluto will be in the rear-view window.

So mark your calendar and set an alarm.

(Or stay up.)


Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Kelly Oakes at

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