Soon, Pluto will no longer be a mystery

Before I begin, I must update a previous item — the U.S. women’s World Cup winning team will indeed get its parade in New York City! It’s the first female sports team to receive such an honor. And it’s well deserved.

Why stop there? Let’s put Alex Morgan on the $10 bill. Screw Susan B. Anthony or Harriet Tubman.

For one day, it won’t be Manhattan. It’ll be Womanhattan.

But now let’s move on to another topic a little further away from New York, and from planet Earth altogether. In one week, mankind will get a glimpse of one of the last mysteries of outer space that we actually know about — Pluto.

The former ninth planet from the sun has had an interesting history. It was discovered in 1930, not by an astronomer, but by a low-level assistant at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona named Clyde Tombaugh. First called Planet X, it was soon recognized as Pluto, our solar system’s ninth planet.

PlutoSeventy-six years later, In 2006, Pluto was no longer recognized as an official planet, but instead, as one of hundreds of dwarf planets that we know of.

And on July 14, a probe launched from the U.S. nine years ago will fly past Pluto and take the first ever close-up photos of it in history.

To the non-scientist, the prospect of it is a lot more exciting than the results. Because it will just be pictures of a shitload of rocks and ice. But the thought that a probe — called the New Horizons — floated perfectly on course for nine years from Earth to Pluto is pretty neat. Almost as neat as a solar-powered backpack that doubles as a phone charger.

C’mon, that’s pretty damn neat.

In a way, it’s a little sad. We’ve always known about Pluto’s existence, whether as an actual planet or a dwarf planet. But it’s been logged in our minds as this far away, distant rock that set the boundary for what we do know exists in outer space, and what we don’t.

It’s almost like getting to see what God looks like.

Sometimes leaving things to the imagination is better than seeing the real thing. Remember when we saw pictures of Mars three years ago? It was just dust and craters. You might as well have showed me a picture of a Saudi Arabian desert and I wouldn’t have known the difference.

I want my perception of planets to be what I saw in picture books when I was a kid. Everything l know about outer space, I learned from The Magic School Bus, and I want to keep it that way.

Pluto was always the last one on the map. The smallest. The introvert that stood out from the rest. In a way, Pluto was us.

I don’t need to know what it looks like. Is it cool as shit that we not only have the capability to do it, but managed to pull it off? Hell yeah. But where’s the mystery after this? We know there’s more out there, but we probably won’t see it in this lifetime.

Actually, the better question is, if we have the capability to send large objects to Pluto, then why don’t we send Donald Trump there?

2 thoughts on “Soon, Pluto will no longer be a mystery

  1. OH MY GOD!!!!!!! I can’t believe I’m reading a post about this! MY COUSIN HAS BEEN WORKING ON THAT FOR ALMOST A DECADE!!! Her husband did the Messenger mission to Mercury! Their wedding cake toppers were the SPACE MODELS!!! They are so freaking incredible and cool and awesome and I can’t believe I know someone who’s making such amazing history. I am endlessly and bursting and busting with pride for my Cousin Becca. The Messenger mission was also completely incredible and hearing their lectures was mind blowing. I’m just so proud of her. We all are! She’s spent endless hours and weird hours and work on this project. The fact that you are writing about it makes me so excited. People are talking about this! And we’ve been learning about it for 9 years! It’s been an amazing ride and journey and we’re so excited for everyone on the project!! I can’t express how busting with pride we are that we got to go on this journey with her. 9 years later and here we are, seeing all we can and learning so much!

    • Wow, that’s amazing! And yes, this has become international news so a lot of people are talking about it. An incredible accomplishment, indeed.

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