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pluto is getting ready for its closeup nasa is new horizons spacecraft is poised to make space history when it becomes the first probe to visit pluto next tuesday the three billion mile journey has been nine years in the making on a mere seven hundred and twenty million dollar budget , nasa scientists say it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to understand the composition of pluto just jobs here and juicier we're gonna start to get more compositional information on their you know pluto and sharon trying if you know to tease out we're already seeing some of the things , and things that we've never seen before and that's what we're doing , he's really after early pictures released this week already reveal apparent polar caps and dark spots along the equator , photos a hundred times the resolution of these are expected to come in after new horizons gets close forecasted to be just seventy eight hundred miles away the spacecraft will have just thirty minutes to take photos and scanned the atmosphere , pluto was discovered as a planet in nineteen thirty but demoted to dwarf planet status in two thousand six