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What Would Clyde Think?

14 Jul 2020, 18:32 UTC
What Would Clyde Think?
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Five years ago, the world paused for a moment to admire the view of a distant world called Pluto. Its discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh wasn’t around to see the spectacular New Horizons views of the planet he discovered in 1930. But, in another sense, he WAS there with the rest of us.

Pluto’s colorful surface units show different compositions and terrains. Courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

A few grams of Clyde’s ashes fly on the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by his planet. So, for a collective moment, we explored Pluto with its discoverer and the team of scientists he inspired.

The late Clyde Tombaugh in 1989. He died in 1997 at age 90,. Courtesy NMSU.

I’ve often wondered what Clyde would think of Pluto, up-close, and personal. I only met him a few times. He was a man with a great sense of humor and humility about his accomplishment. So, I imagine that he’d love it all. It would have been cool to have him on the science team as New Horizons flew by. His family members attended the flyby festivities in mid-July 2015 and celebrated the mission.

A Virtual Pluto Celebration

Today, we ...

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