After a 3-billion-mile journey and a decade of space flight, NASA's New Horizons mission became the first to explore the dwarf planet Pluto on Tuesday, passing within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of the distant and mysterious world. 

Scientists are awaiting a series of status updates from the spacecraft that indicate it survived the flyby and is in good health -- scheduled for about 6 p.m. PDT -- as well as data and images collected during the closest approach.

Read more about the encounter and see the latest images

TAGS: Pluto, New Horizons, Dwarf Planet

  • NASA/JPL Edu