NASA’s New Horizons Probe Finds Pluto is Bigger Than Predicted

Scientists said on Monday, mysterious Pluto looms large and turns out to be larger than expected as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft wraps up a nearly decade-long journey, with a close flyby on track for Tuesday. The nuclear-powered probe was in position to pass dead center of a 60-by-90-mile target zone between the orbits of Pluto and its primary moon, Charon, at 7:49 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. During the 30-minute dash past Pluto and its entourage of five moons, New Horizons will perform a carefully choreographed series of maneuvers to position its cameras and science instruments for hundreds of observations. Already, scientists have learned that Pluto, once considered the ninth and outermost planet of the solar system, is bigger than thought, with a diameter of about 1,473 miles, some 50 miles wider than previous predictions.