CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — In a day of both jubilation and tension, scientists anxiously waited Tuesday for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft to send word across 3 billion miles and confirm it got humanity’s first up-close look at Pluto.
All indications were that the craft successfully made its flyby, and a cheering, flag-waving celebration swept over the mission operations center in Maryland. But confirmation was not expected to reach Earth from the edge of the solar system for another 13 hours, or about 9 p.m. EDT.
The unprecedented encounter was the last stop on NASA’s grand tour of the planets over the past half-century. New Horizons arrived at the small icy world after an epic journey that began 9