Speed Reads

Far out

NASA's New Horizons probe awakens on approach to Pluto

NASA's New Horizons probe flickered to life on Saturday in preparation for a highly-anticipated study of Pluto and its surrounding celestial neighbors.

Launched in January 2006, the probe hibernated, in more than a dozen stints, for a total of 1,873 days during its nine-year, 3-billion-mile journey. New Horizons will begin observing Pluto in January and fly within 7,700 miles of its surface to finally give researchers high-resolution images of the ex-planet.

"We are so very looking forward to turning this very fuzzy little image of a distant planet into something real," Alan Stern, one of the lead researchers on the mission, told the Los Angeles Times.