After launching almost nine years ago and traveling three billion miles into deep space, NASA's New Horizons probe has activated from hibernation in preparation for its 2015 encounter with Pluto.
NASA's New Horizons team will spend the coming weeks inspecting the spacecraft and making sure instruments are working properly, including a high-resolution telescopic camera and a space-dust collector, according to NASA.
Part of New Horizon's extended mission is to venture farther into the Kupier Belt and "examine one or two of the ancient, icy mini-worlds in that vast region," located a billion miles beyond Neptunes orbit, according to NASA.
The probe still has more than 162 million miles to travel before it reaches the object formerly known as a planet, but is expected to be close enough to observe it in January, and have its closest approach on July 14, 2015.
Austin Hunt is a curation editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.