State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Finding Pluto

This summer, a space probe that has been traveling for 9 years will finally reach Pluto. Image: JHUAPL/SwRI
This summer, a space probe that has been traveling for 9 years will finally reach Pluto. Image: JHUAPL/SwRI

 

Far away, a beloved dot

Arcs through cold and shrouded spaces,

Not lonely, as we had once thought,

But circled by more rocky faces:

Charon, Nix, and Hydra found,

Classified as “dwarf” or pseudo,

And though such bodies now abound,

None sparks wonder quite like Pluto.

On the hunt for Planet X,

Tombaugh found a ball of light,

Among a crowd of tiny specks;

Imaginations soon took flight.

Elusive is this outerworld;

Nine years ago we took a dare –

To deepest space, a scouter hurled

… and soon it will be there!

 

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Further reading:

Pluto-bound probe faces its toughest challenge: finding Pluto, Witze (2015) Nature

NASA Mission: New Horizons to Pluto

This is one in a series of posts by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

 

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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