The New Horizons probe had just one shot at gathering as much data from Pluto as it could, a process that took more than a day. But it's taken the past fifteen months to actually receive all 50-plus gigabytes of data that it captured. NASA announced this morning that the probe has finally sent back the last bit of data, a Pluto and Charon infra-red sequence. Next up, NASA plans to double-check the data it's received before wiping New Horizons' data recorder. Its next stop: the Kuiper Belt.
"The Pluto system data that New Horizons collected has amazed us over and over again with the beauty and complexity of Pluto and its system of moons," Alan Stern, New Horizons' mission head said in a statement. "There's a great deal of work ahead for us to understand the 400-plus scientific observations that have all been sent to Earth. And that's exactly what we're going to do—after all, who knows when the next data from a spacecraft visiting Pluto will be sent?"