Stephen Hawking posts video message after spacecraft reaches Pluto

'We explore because we are human'

Stephen Hawking Posts His Reaction To New Horizons' Pluto Mission
Professor Stephen Hawking has posted a congratulatory message on Facebook to NASA and the New Horizons team.

On the morning of July 14, after travelling for almost 10 years, the New Horizon's spacecraft finally reached its Pluto flyby destination, to take a closer look at the distant planet.

The professor was quick to extend his praise on the historic accomplishment on social media, reports

"I would like to congratulate the New Horizons team and NASA on their pioneering, decade-long mission to explore the Pluto system and the Kuiper belt," Hawking said in the video.

"It is 50 years since the first successful mission to Mars, Mariner 4, sent back ... images of the Red Planet. Now the solar system will be further opened up to us, revealing the secrets of distant Pluto."

16 more months of data

Hawking's work in cosmology and physics has expanded humanity's knowledge of the universe and the strange things that inhabit it.

He added: "The revelations of New Horizons may help us to understand better how our solar system was formed. We explore because we are human, and we want to know. I hope that Pluto will help us on that journey."

Hawking concluded that he'd be watching what humankind learns about "mysterious Pluto" carefully.

And we'll be learning for a long time. After the first images and data from the flyby reached Earth last night, there will be 16 more months of data transmission until scientists have seen everything New Horizons measured during its brief encounter with Pluto.