One of the final images taken before New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto on 14 July 2015.
One of the final images taken before New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto on 14 July 2015.NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA has finally been able to click Pluto from the closest possible range. Clicked by NASA-owned New Horizon spacecraft, which has travelled for over nine years covering over three billion miles, the image was published first on NASA's Instagram account even before it was uploaded in its official website.

Instagram, which is a Facebook-owned image-sharing social media website, is immensely popular around the world with a huge user base of 300 million. The official Instagram account of NASA has a fan-following of over 3.5 million users.

The move clearly mentioned that even NASA has understood the necessity of social media to be in touch with the audience. Following the exclusive image release via Instagram, it has also started by live tweeting through NASA's official Twitter handle @NASANewHorizons.

"The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match."

As per the plan, the spacecraft is currently in data-gathering mode and not in contact with flight controllers at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physical Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Scientists are waiting to find out whether New Horizons "phones home," transmitting to Earth a series of status updates that indicate the spacecraft survived the flyby and is in good health. The "call" is expected shortly after 9pm on Tuesday.

Watch NASA New Horizons video below: