A Visual History of Humanity’s Exploration of Pluto – Facts So Romantic

Before I could string full sentences together, I used to wander outside past my bedtime. I would push open the sliding glass door and immediately look up, searching for stars sprinkled beyond the silhouetted trees. At the time, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what I was seeing. Instead, each beacon of light represented a mystery, a final frontier in a vast, unknown universe.

Today, two-plus decades of personal discovery leaning on centuries of scientific discovery have given me much greater insight into the night sky. But plenty of mysteries still stand. You could say that most of the universe remains dark to us. And that includes some of our own backyard.

Pluto—that cold, small and lonely dwarf planet 4.7 billion miles away—is still a single dot in a vast, starry sky, only dimly visible through even our best telescopes. We know little about it, save that it’s very different from what we know well: completely unlike the rocky inner planets and outer gas and ice giants of the Solar System. It has held onto its secrets for nearly a century. But that is about to change.

After a nearly-10-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is rapidly approaching the icy world. At 11:49:57…

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