NASA's First Mission to Pluto Is Postponed

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

January 17, 2006

NASA officials will wait a little bit longer before beginning their first mission to Pluto.

The space agency's New Horizons Spacecraft was scheduled to lift off Tuesday, but the launch was postponed due to high winds.

NASA officials hope to try again Wednesday.

Local astronomers say they are excited about the mission, even though the probe will take almost a decade to reach its destination.

"It'll mean a lot if it provides the kind of data we hope for because it's going to tell us what the surface of the planet is like and what the surface of its major moon is like and then how many other moons it may have," said Dr. Charles Tolbert, a UVa Professor of Astronomy.

The three billion mile trip will transit the first clear pictures of Pluto and its moons, all for a cost of $700 million.

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