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New Horizons carrying NINE (yes, NINE!!) “gifts” to Pluto…


Today was the day a lot of speculation about the “cargo” of goodies, mementoes and gifts the spaceprobe New Horizons is carrying with it to Pluto. The list has been released, and you can find full details here, in Alan Stern’s own words. Two of the items stand out as being particularly appropriate to me – some of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto, and a small piece of “Spaceship One”, the privately-built and flown spaceplane that won the X-Prize a couple of years ago.

… and why did Alan Stern, the man behind the Pluto-bound NEW HORIZONS mission choose to send nine? Hmmm, let me think… maybe it’s because that Pluto is still, in the hearts and minds of many people, the NINTH PLANET in the solar System, and always will be, despite what the IAU decided in that about-as-democratic-as-a-Zimbabwean-election meeting a couple of years ago… 🙂

Oppy plunges into the Dune Sea of Meridiani…

Oppy is now driving directly away from Victoria Crater, right into an area covered with rippled, meandering dunes of dust… I bet this scene would look beautiful in colour, but for now here it is in black and white, with a 3D version for you to (hopefully) enjoy, too. You’ll need to click on the images to see them in full size.