It's been nothing less than the fastest ever sprint across the solar system.
The half-ton NASA New Horizons probe - the fastest manmade object ever built - today crosses the halfway mark on its nearly decade-long odyssey to the dwarf planet Pluto.
Today the probe is equidistant between Earth and Pluto; approximately 1.525 billion miles from both worlds. (The spacecraft won't be equidistant between the sun and Pluto until later in 2010.)
The craft is now traveling at 36,900 miles per hour relative to the sun. It is climbing out of the clutches of the sun's "gravity well" fast enough to escape the solar system forever. Now that's a real "getaway special."
If we were traveling along with the probe today, we'd look back and see the sun about 1/15th its diameter as seen from Earth, and less than 1/200th as bright. It shines in the constellation Gemini, and forms a nearly equilateral triangle with the bright red winter stars Betelgeuse and Aldebaran. Earth glimmers as a diamond almost lost in the sun's glare. Jupiter and Saturn flank the sun. Even at the halfway point Pluto still cannot be seen with the naked eye.