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Charles Bolden

Pluto flyby: an unmatched American accomplishment

America is poised to reach a new milestone Tuesday in exploration and discovery. Fifty years after Mariner-4's historic flyby of Mars, 20 years after the Galileo spacecraft arrived at Jupiter and five years after President Barack Obama challenged America's space program to extend humanity's reach in space while strengthening America's leadership here on Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto, providing the closest view humanity has ever seen of the dwarf planet.

Since its launch in 2006, New Horizons has traveled to the far reaches of the solar system. When New...