On board the spacecraft are seven instruments: a visible and infrared light spectrometer, an ultraviolet spectrometer, a passive radiometer, a telescopic camera, a plasma spectrometer, an energetic particle spectrometer, and a student dust counter.
After getting an early boost from Jupiter, New Discovery just rendezvoused with a rock some three billion miles (~5 billion km) out in space - Pluto, formerly known as the ninth planet in our solar system. The US has now reached every planet with a space probe, and this latest meeting marks the completion of the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.
Just before 8am US EDT, (12pm UTC) New Horizons flew about 8,000 miles (~13000 km) above the demoted planet's surface, and streamed moonlit-images back to an eager audience. The images show an unprecedented glimpse into the origins of our own solar system. Pieced together from multiple viewpoints, they will help scientists construct a topographic map of Pluto's surface.
Check back throughout the week as we update this story with the latest views from New Horizon's Pluto flyby. And be sure to check out our #PicturePluto contest on Twitter to enjoy some madcap renderings of what could possibly be hanging out up there.