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"The Fastest Manmade Object Ever Built, 'New Horizons' Covers Nearly a Million Miles of Space Each Day"


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Pluto-Bound New Horizons Probe

Spacecraft Sprints to Within a Billion Miles of Pluto

By Ray Villard
Discovery News
2-13-12
     When you are sprinting across the solar system, "homestretch" is the final 1 billion miles of your journey. That sounds like quite a stretch, but the half-ton spacecraft has already logged 2 billion miles since its launch in early 2006. That’s twice the distance between Earth and Saturn.

Though the icy dwarf planet is still three years away from the Plutonian close encounter, mission scientists call this the Late Cruise phase of the flight.

The nuclear-powered probe will zoom by Pluto and its moons, possibly navigating a hazardous ring system on July 14, 2015.

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