Monday, July 13, 2015

Tomorrow, Pluto

New Horizons zooms past Pluto tomorrow. It's a big fucking deal.

Why is it a big fucking deal? We've never seen it before, that's why. Pluto, King of the Kuiper belt, as far as we know, has been a dot or, at best, a smudge. And tomorrow, we get to see it as a world.

Earth? Meet Pluto. Pluto? Earth. Courtesy of the United States of America.

It's already a world, courtesy of NASA
When I was born, in 1957, there were no satellites in orbit around Earth. The best images we had of the planets were murky smudges. Really, our knowledge of the planets bordered on cargo cult fantasies and superstition. People actually thought there might be other beings on the planets. People actually thought life would be commonplace.

Now, we've explored every major and minor planet in the Solar System, and are about to embark into the third realm, the hundred-thousand-world ring of icy planetoids beyond Pluto. I expect we'll find some new surprises.

Pretty good for a bunch of feces-throwing apes.


  1. too bad we can't seem to keep from poisoning the only world that we know of that can sustain our life while we explore space. you'd think if we were smart enough to send ships out to other planets we would be smart enough to keep our home clean.

  2. 7/14/2015 8:53 am CDT, New Horizons has past its closest approach to Pluto, but it will take the radio signal 4 HOURS to get back to us.

  3. Pluto and its moons have young surface, meaning geologically active. At liquid nitrogen temps. Lesson here? There are no dead worlds, only lifeless ones.