New Horizons was in hibernation for approximately two thirds of its journey since the launch in January 2006 (a total hibernation time of more than 1,800 days). Alice Bowman is the craft’s operations manager at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory outside Washington. She gave the news to the press that New Horizons is still cruising quietly through space and its journey is almost over as the craft is nearly “three billion miles from home”.
Pluto and its several moons will soon be studied. New Horizons will reach closest to Pluto in July 2015 but this will only mark the end of its investigations of the icy body. Pluto exploration will begin at a distance of 160 million miles from the dwarf planet(1430 miles in diameter, smaller than Earth’s moon) in January 2015. The craft will use its onboard instruments to accomplish this. New Horizons carries a space dust detector, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, a high-resolution telescopic camera and a multicolor camera.
Scientists will also get to have a glimpse into the debris left over from the solar system’s birth 4.6 billion years ago when New Horizons finishes investigating Pluto and it will pass near objects from Kuiper Belt which are 0.93 billion miles away from Pluto.