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First New Horizons data shows Pluto 'larger than thought'

The first lot of data sent back by the New Horizons space probe shows Pluto is larger than scientists thought, Nasa has revealed.

As the craft made history earlier today by passing closer to the dwarf planet than ever before, experts answered questions from people on Twitter about the mission.

The team revealed that not only is Pluto bigger than expected, it definitely has polar ice caps.

Cheers at Nasa HQ amid historic approach to Pluto

Nasa scientists working on the nine-year, three billion-mile journey to examine Pluto cheered, shouted and waved flags as the New Horizons probe made its closest ever approach to the dwarf planet.

The craft will now carry out detailed analysis of the composition of Pluto, as well as capturing high-definition images, in what scientists hope will shed light on the make-up of the solar system.

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New Horizons reaches closest approach to Pluto

US space probe New Horizons has reached 8,150 miles (13,116km) of the surface of Pluto - the closest-ever approach to the dwarf planet.

Nasa has released the latest image taken by the probe to coincide with the historic flypast.

New picture from New Horizons reveals heart of Pluto

A new picture showing Pluto in better detail than ever before - including its distinctive heart-shaped spot - has today arrived back on Earth after being beamed billions of miles through space.

This is the closest, most detailed picture of Pluto taken to date Credit: Nasa

The new image came as US space probe New Horizons makes its closest approach to the dwarf planet in the history of space exploration, coming within 7,767 miles (12,500km) of the surface within the next half an hour.

The nine-year, 3.26 billion-mile mission aims to collect data about the composition of Pluto, downgraded from planet to dwarf planet in 2006.

It has also provided better quality images, replacing the blurry shots previously captured by Nasa telescopes.

This picture was taken yesterday evening at 9pm UK time, at around 476,000m (766,000km) from the surface, and posted to Nasa's Instagram page today.

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Nasa: Falcon 9 rocket explodes two minutes after takeoff

A rocket exploded two minutes after liftoff from Florida, destroying a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station in the latest in a string of mishaps in supplying the orbiting outpost.

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9. Credit: Reuters
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes. Credit: Reuters
Debris falls from the skies. Credit: Reuters

An unmanned Space Exploration Technologies is 208-foot-tall (63-metre) rocket, built and flown by the company known as SpaceX that is owned by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk. It had previously made 18 successful launches since its 2010 debut.

Those included six cargo runs for Nasa under a 15-flight contract worth more than $2 billion.

Nasa: 'Vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent'

American space agency Nasa said its SpaceX vehicle " experienced an anomaly on ascent" before breaking up.

Nasa: SpaceX vehicle 'breaks up' in launch failure

Nasa has said that the SpaceX vehicle which due to carry space station supplies has "broken up" after "something went wrong with the launch".

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