Southern Illinoisan influential in New Horizons Space probe - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Southern Illinoisan influential in New Horizons Space probe

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WSIL -- A southern Illinois native has influenced the deepest probe into space the world has ever seen, sending back images of the once-planet, Pluto. 

Gabe Rogers, of Christopher, is the Guidance Control Lead on a spacecraft called New Horizon that has been traveling through space and collecting data since 2006.

Just after midnight on January 1, the spacecraft flew by something very special. Rogers explains, “It’s what they’re calling a contact binary. The scientists had speculated about these objects but nobody had seen definitive proof until the pictures came in late last night.”

New Horizons is so deep in space, it could take more than 20 months to downlink all of the data from the probe.

Rogers says the craft has enough plutonium to keep itself powered until the mid-2030s.

If you'd like more info, you can track the probe here.

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