Here’s a great example of success. The probe New Horizon was launched 9 years ago to photograph Pluto and become the first spacecraft to reach it. In the last couple of days the first pictures of Pluto were sent back to Earth. These are pictures taken before the probe from our most powerful telescopes and then using information from the probe’s flyby of Pluto and it’s largest moon Charon. The idea of a spaceship from earth reaching Pluto would have sounded “impossible” to many but they were deteremined to succeed, and they did.
They launched in Jan 2006 aiming to reach the farthest planet in our solar system. On board New Horizon carries the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh who discovered the planet in 1930. It travelled around Juptier in 2007 to use its gravity to “slingshot” towards Pluto saving roughly 3 years of flight time (at 50,000 MPH) by adding 9,000 MPH to it’s speed. It passed Saturn in 2008, Uranus in 2011 and finally Neptune last year finally getting close to Pluto 14th of July 2015. New Horizons was only be able to get information for around 24 hours until it went too far. It passed Pluto, and its moons, at 28,000MPH (45,000KMH) within 7770 miles of it’s surface.
During its time in space Pluto was downgraded to “dwarf planet”. It is small , here compared to North America and was believed to be more or a rock than a planet.
New Horizon has sent us some great information.