US space agency NASA’s New Horizons robotic investigation awoke from nine years of hibernation on Saturday to commence its another unprecedented mission.
New Horizons robotic probe has completed a journey of three billion miles (4.8 billion km) and has now woken up to study the icy dwarf planet Pluto and its Kuiper Belt’s sibling worlds.
A pre-set alarm clock rang to make New Horizons wake up from its electronic slumber at 3 pm EST (2000 GMT) on Saturday. According to the space agency, the ground control teams receive a confirmation of the robot’s rising up until just after 9:30 pm (0230 GMT on Sunday).
New Horizons is currently very far away that even the radio signals, traveling at the speed of light, take as much as four hours and 25 minutes to come back to the Earth.
According to the program managers, the scientific observation of the icy dwarf planet Pluto along with its entourage of moons and its other siblings will begin in January next year.
The scientists are expecting the closest approach on July 14.
Pluto lies in a region of icy mini-planets, called Kuiper Belt, which orbits the Sun beyond Neptune. Pluto is expected to be leftover remains that have formed from the solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists say it is the solar system’s last unexplored region.
Lead study researcher Alan Stern said, “It’s hard to underestimate the evolution that’s taking place in our view of the architecture and content of our solar system as a result of the discovery of the Kuiper Belt.”
Pluto has always remained a mystery for the scientists since its discovery in 1930.