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The New Horizons science team announced today that they have finally received the last bit of data obtained by the spacecraft during its July 14, 2015 fly-by of Pluto.
Having traveled from the New Horizons spacecraft over 3.1 billion miles (five hours, eight minutes at light speed), the final item – a segment of a Pluto-Charon observation sequence taken by the Ralph/LEISA imager – arrived at mission operations at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, at 5:48 a.m. EDT on Oct. 25. The downlink came via NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia. It was the last of the 50-plus total gigabits of Pluto system data transmitted to Earth by New Horizons over the past 15 months.
Once they have checked this data, they will wipe the spacecraft’s onboard hard drives to prepare for the January 1, 2019 fly-by of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69.