TORONTO (June 18, 2015) – Moving at breakneck speeds to the edge of the solar system for nearly a decade, the mission to Pluto is less than a month away from mankind’s closest approach to the mysterious and contentious dwarf planet. Discovery’s PLUTO: FIRST ENCOUNTER joins the New Horizons’ epic quest led by NASA as the spacecraft completes its flyby, capturing first-ever images of the icy dwarf planet and its moons. The one-hour special, produced by Canada’s Exploration Production Inc. (EPI), premieres Wednesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery, hours after NASA’s first images of the extraordinary historic encounter are released. Anchored by DAILY PLANET co-host Dr. Dan Riskin from mission central in Maryland, the special chronicles the journey that will bring the former ninth planet into focus. Could this encounter reignite the debate over Pluto’s planetary status or will seeing Pluto up close give greater importance to dwarf planets spinning at the edge of the solar system five billion kilometres away? This dramatic mission will shed new light on the former ninth planet, promising fresh clues about the birth of our solar system and perhaps life on earth.