(WASHINGTON POST) — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft phoned home Tuesday night, reporting that it had made it to Pluto and beyond after crossing the solar system for 9 1/2years. To the immense relief of the men and women who had built it and then flung it into deep space, the robotic probe sent a brief stream of data, received shortly before 9 p.m., confirming that it had survived the close pass of the dwarf planet.
“We have a healthy spacecraft. We’ve recorded data in the Pluto system. And we’re outbound from Pluto,” Alice Bowman, the mission operations manager, announced to her thrilled colleagues in the control room at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the home of New Horizons. In a nearby auditorium, hundreds of people who had been watching the video feed stood and gave the team a standing ovation.