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Glitch sees Nasa briefly lose touch with Pluto mission

Glitch sees Nasa briefly lose touch with Pluto mission

MIAMI: Nasa briefly lost touch this weekend with an unmanned spacecraft on its way to a historic encounter with Pluto, but the US space agency said on Monday the glitch has been fixed.

The communications blackout on Saturday lasted nearly an hour and half, and perplexed scientists as they tried to figure out what had gone wrong aboard the New Horizons spacecraft nearly 4.9 billion kilometres from Earth.

The mission is being closely watched by millions of space enthusiasts because the spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto on July 14 will offer the world’s first close look at the distant dwarf planet.

“The New Horizons spacecraft experienced an anomaly the afternoon of July 4 that led to a loss of communication with Earth,” Nasa said on its website.

“Communication has since been reestablished and the spacecraft is healthy”. The spacecraft was pre-programmed to switch from its main to a backup computer in the event of such a problem.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2015

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