Back in 2009, a small spacecraft called New Horizons began a 9 ½ year, 3 billion mile journey to “boldly go where no man had gone before” — namely, to explore the planet Pluto.
Or former planet, Pluto, depending where you stand on the issue. In 2006, the International Astronomic Union decided that since other terrestrial bodies had been discovered similar in size and even in some cases larger than Pluto, the definition of “planet” would need to be redefined. Pluto was then designated as a “dwarf planet.” There is currently a debate and even a movement to have Pluto restored to its former status as a planet.
No matter which side of the argument you are on, nearly everyone has been impressed over the past month with the amazing images of Pluto that have been sent back by New Horizons. It created quite a buzz on the Internet and has set the scientific world on fire with loads of new data and information about the outpost of our solar system.
The space craft also carried something very special. A small portion of cremated remains were placed aboard New Horizons with the inscription: “Interned herein are remains of American Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto and the solar system’s ‘third zone’. Adelle and Muron’s boy, Patricia’s husband, Annette and Alden’s father, astronomer, teacher, punster, and friend: Clyde W. Tombaugh (1906–1997)”
Is space memorialization the wave of the future? What are your thoughts and opinions on the subject? We’d love to hear from you.
And one more thing. Clyde Tombaugh was the great uncle of a current Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player. Do you know which one?