Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft has revealed that Pluto is bigger and redder than scientists expected.
The spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet this yesterday afternoon.
The mission made its historic fly by hurtling past the last unseen planet in our solar system at 45,000 kilometres per hour, having travelled more than nine years to get there.
The spacecraft has been sent specifically to take pictures of Pluto, a part of the solar system that has been in deep freeze for billions of years. The data will be relayed back to the tracking station at Canberra’s Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC).
Up to now, little has been known about Pluto, the most distant planetary body in the solar system and the last to be explored by Nasa.
It was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet in 2006 and is thought to contain important clues about the origins of the solar system.
Listen as Expert South African astronomer Bill Hollenbasch speaks to Sam Cowen about the #Plutoflyby.