Although New Horizons is still more than 9 years away from reaching Pluto, it's ready to do some science along the way. The spacecraft passed an important milestone this week when it opened the protective cover on its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and took a photograph of the Messier 7 star cluster. Stars were visible in this cluster down to 12th magnitude, which matches the instrument's pre-launch calibration. New Horizons will start imaging Jupiter with LORRI as it approaches a Feb. 28, 2007 flyby.
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