Excerpt from 

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Man about to closer to Pluto than ever before as the NASA New Horizons spacecraft begins the first of several approach phases toward the dwarf planet at the of our system.

When the mission was in the planning phases, Pluto was still considered a planet, but in 2006 it was reclassified as a dwarf planet. That same year, the New Horizons spacecraft blasted off as the fastest ever, shooting out off on a 4.6 billion mile journey to the distant sphere.

The piano-size New Horizons craft was in a hibernation phase as it traveled the first 3 billion miles toward Pluto. It woke up last and is now getting ready for the first photo shoot.

“NASA first mission to distant Pluto also be humankind’s first close up view of this cold, unexplored in our solar system,” said Jim Green, of NASA’s Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.

Beginning January 25th, the probe will begin snapping photos of Pluto, which is the 10th largest body orbiting our sun.
The later stages of approach will require steering the craft closer to Pluto by using photo to steer around five known moons and other potential perils.