It’s A Planet, Dammit February 5, 2010Posted by bobv451 in sci-fi, science, space, writing.
Clyde Tombaugh discovered a planet. Pluto. A lot of ink has been wasted demoting Pluto to some silly category like “dwarf planet” from actual planet status. Luckily, the science goes on. There is a deep space probe (New Horizons) halfway on its way out there, launched prior to the kerfluffle. If it had to be funded now, it would never have been sent to a “dwarf planet.” And now good ole Hubble has given some great pictures
that ought to qualify as stfnal but aren’t. Eat your heart out, Chesley Bonestell. (Oh, what art he could have made from actual views!)
Pluto is useful since it has an atmosphere and around the Kuiper Belt can give all kinds of information about stuff we cannot see. Also intriguing is how near Pluto is to the “edge” of the Solar System, where the light pressure from the Sun matches that of all incoming photons from the rest of the universe. To put a base on Pluto and study the shock waves formed when local photons hit galactic (extra galactic!) ones would be great. And it would give information about trudging outside the Solar System and exploring the real deep space.
Mars is cool…Pluto is frigid. Great story stuff to be mined out there.