NASA websites get Pluto bump
- By Derek Major
- Jul 14, 2015
Nine years ago, Pluto was kicked out of the planet club -- but today the "dwarf planet" on the edge of the solar system was the center of public attention.
While NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was flying by Pluto and its moon Charon, photos of the planet taken during the approach were drawing hundreds of thousands of views on NASA websites and social media. According to analytics.usa.gov 11 of the top 20 most popular government web pages the morning of July 14 were on NASA sites.
More than 900,000 people were on a government website at 7 a.m. when New Horizons was passing Pluto, according to The Hill. The spacecraft was launched in 2006, and some of the photos taken this morning will be used in determining the true size of Pluto, which now appears to be slightly larger than prior estimates.
The photos shared on July 14 are the sharpest ever seen of Pluto, and the "flyby" imagery is expected to be better still. Initial pictures should be released on July 15, NASA said, but it will take more than a year to transmit all nine-plus years’ worth of New Horizons data.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.