Magazine article Technology and Children

The Space Place Lonely Pluto

Magazine article Technology and Children

The Space Place Lonely Pluto

Article excerpt

How would you like to be six billion miles from Earth, surrounded by darkness and freezing cold, and no one ever comes to visit you? Think about it. That's what it's like to be Pluto.

When astronomers discovered Pluto in 1930, they were amazed to find such a tiny planet so far from the sun. Other planets "out there" are giants-Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune could swallow Earth whole. Yet Pluto is smaller than Earth's moon. It's an oddball, so tiny that even the Hubble Space Telescope can't see it clearly.

Pluto is a world of mystery. Does Pluto have weather? Does it even have air? What about mountains and craters? Scientists would love to know the answers to these questions. Yet, while NASA has sent spaceships to all of the other planets, Pluto has not been visited even once.

Pluto, get ready for company!

On January 19, NASA launched a spaceship called New Horizons, and it is on its way to Pluto. No one is onboard; New Horizons is a robot! The trip will take nine years. A sixth-grader now will be in college when New Horizons reaches Pluto in the year 2015. …

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