NASA To 'Wake Up' Pluto-Bound Space Probe
NASA says its Pluto-bound probe, New Horizons, has spearheaded routine cruise-flight hibernation in space travel.By Madison Burke | December 6, 2014
NASA's New Horizons deep space probe is scheduled to awake from hibernation Saturday as it prepares to approach Pluto. This mission makes New Horizons the first space probe to venture past Neptune's orbit and explore the dwarf planet.
When the probe first launched in 2006, Pluto was still considered a planet. Since its launch, New Horizons has spent about two-thirds of its flight time hibernating to conserve energy.
NASA's been using periodic cruise-flight hibernation to reduce wear and tear on the New Horizon craft's equipment and also to lower operation costs. The agency said in a statement the mission "pioneered routine cruise-flight hibernation for NASA."