NASA reports that the last data from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto has finally been received on Earth.
On July 14 last year, the spacecraft shot past Pluto and amassed over 50GB of data about the mini-planet. Getting it back to Earth was the tricky part – the massive distances involved mean that the data flow was limited to one kilobit per second – but the final download from the flyby was picked up by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, at 5:48am EDT on October 25.
"The Pluto system data that New Horizons collected has amazed us over and over again with the beauty and complexity of Pluto and its system of moons," said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
"There's a great deal of work ahead for us to understand the 400-plus scientific observations that have all been sent to Earth. And that's exactly what we're going to do – after all, who knows when the next data from a spacecraft visiting Pluto will be sent?" ®