Hello, Pluto

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On Tuesday, the New Horizons spacecraft flew close by Pluto, a whopping nine years after it left Earth. As a kid, I was obsessed with the planets, stars, and the solar system at large, so my inner 9-year-old is beyond excited about this. I think I’m in good company when I say that when just after the New Horizons mission launched in 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto was no longer a major planet, but rather a dwarf, my childhood was rocked. The decision was made based on Pluto’s size and mass, which was more accurately calculated upon discovery of the former planet’s moon Charon, as well as that of Eris, another far more massive object found beyond Pluto’s orbit. Continue reading