NASA is preparing to celebrate a huge milestone 50 years in the making.
The New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto next week. The three billion mile journey has taken nine years, on a budget of $720 million.
"The human race has to explore. If we don't explore, we die," said Maurice Clark, assistant professor in Texas Tech's Department of Physics. "Doing exploration and research like this, it stretches our imagination, it stretches our science, our engineering, our technology. It develops us as a species."
New Horizons is expected to come as close as 7,800 miles to Pluto Tuesday morning.