When it comes to landmark achievements in space exploration, Tuesday will be remembered as the day humanity reached Pluto for the first time.
If everything goes according to plan, a NASA spacecraft, called New Horizons, will fly by Pluto at 12:49 p.m. BST, or 7:49 a.m. ET. New Horizons will be the first spacecraft to ever visit Pluto, and after a nine-year journey, it has been a long time coming.
NASA will stream live countdown coverage of the event starting at 7:30 a.m. ET, followed by a briefing on the mission from 8 a.m. ET onward.
So you may have to get up a little earlier than usual, but if you want to celebrate Pluto with the rest of the world, you can by checking out the live feed below.
It's important to note that the countdown coverage will not include any live feed of the spacecraft moving by Pluto because we have no telescope strong enough to see the piano-size spacecraft in enough detail. And the spacecraft is about 4 1/2 light hours from Earth, so its coverage of the flyby will take at least 4 1/2 hours to reach us.
At its closest approach, New Horizons is intended to pass within 7,600 miles of Pluto while traveling at 30,800 mph. At such speed, the spacecraft will have only a few hours to collect as much scientific information on the geography and composition of Pluto as it can.
That means at the time of its closest approach, New Horizons will be too busy to send a signal to Earth to confirm that the mission is a success. So that crucial message — letting scientists know whether the spacecraft's flyby took place without incident — should come in later on Tuesday, at 8:53 p.m. ET, according to the BBC.
"That [message] is going to be a very highly anticipated even because it's going to be sort of putting the cherry on top," Alan Stern, principal investigator for the mission, said in a NASA news briefing on Monday.
NASA will stream live coverage of the incoming message starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
NASA also has a way that you can experience the flyby in real time with the app "Eyes on Pluto." The app uses the calibrations on New Horizons to simulate when and where the spacecraft is in reference to Pluto.
"The picture in picture view shows you where the spacecraft is looking and what its advanced instruments can see," NASA says. "You can use a 'live' mode to see what New Horizons is doing right now, or preview the flyby of the Pluto System."
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