Pluto just 4 weeks, 20 million miles away for spacecraft

AP News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2015 2:40 PM
Pluto just 4 weeks, 20 million miles away for spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on Pluto's doorstep, following an incredible journey of nine years and 3 billion miles.

Four weeks from Tuesday — on July 14 — New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto. The spacecraft will fly within 7,750 miles. That's the approximate distance between Seattle and Sydney. It will be the first spacecraft to explore the tiny, icy world once considered a full-fledged planet.

As of Tuesday, New Horizons was just over 20 million miles from Pluto. That's closer than Earth is to Venus, at their closest point.

Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, says the spacecraft is doing well and everything is on track. The lab designed and built the spacecraft for NASA, and is operating it, too.