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The Space Probe Exploring Pluto Right Now Is Carrying the Ashes of Its Discoverer

(Images: NASA)

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is conducting humanity's first close observation of the planet Pluto. Scientists are mesmerized by the first high-resolution images of this mysterious world at the border of our solar system.

Pluto is ancient, but our knowledge of it is not. It was in only 1930 that Clyde Tombaugh, a 23-year old astronomer from Kansas, found it hidden away in the distance (though this is disputed). Tombaugh went on to have a long and fruitful career in astronomy before dying in 1997 at the age of 90.

When NASA launched New Horizons in 2006, the probe carried a portion of Tombaugh's ashes. So in a way, he's now traveled all the way to the world that he discovered. NBC News talked to his family:

"My dad would have been thrilled," Alden Tombaugh, 70, told NBC News. "He always said that if he had the chance, he wanted to visit the planets. And a little part of him is going to get to do that."

-via American Digest


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You might do your readers a favor if you linked to the actual article on another site, instead of the main URL, so people can easily find the original, if they wish.
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As the probe leaves the solar system, taking Tombaugh's ashes with it, and in 4 billion years when our sun swells and envelops the planets, Clyde Tombaugh will be one of the few human remnants to exist unless we have migrated to the stars as well.
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