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Jun 6, 2018

NASA’s New Horizons probe woke up today to prep for its next deep space flyby

<em>An artistic rendering of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft</em>

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by Pluto in July of 2015, woke up today from hibernation mode in preparation for its next rendezvous with a space rock at the edge of the Solar System. The vehicle came out of its slumber 3.7 billion miles from Earth, as it’s speeding toward an icy body nicknamed Ultima Thule that orbits the Sun way beyond Neptune. Now that the spacecraft is awake, the mission team has a very full schedule through 2018: the flyby will take place on January 1st, 2019.

New Horizons has been in and out of hibernation mode twice since April of 2017. While in hibernation, the spacecraft basically runs on autopilot, with only its essential components and a few of its instruments powered on. The probe also works off a...

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