Daily Archives: January 20, 2016
A Funny Thing Happened with Pluto
While researchers have no direct evidence of the object, they did see strange perturbations in the orbits of objects deep in the Kuiper Belt — the group of icy bodies in Pluto’s part of space — that seem to suggest the existence of a planet one to 10 times more massive than Earth that orbits the sun every 10,000 to 20,000 years.
–Miriam Kramer, “How to name the possible ninth planet in our solar system,” Mashable
This deep-space discovery/observation is an exciting revelation. The universe continues to surprise us in ways that reinvigorate our sense of exploration. Looking up at the stars at night, flickering at distances that seem deceptively close is an experience in itself. To read today that, potentially, a ninth planet in our solar system may be been spotted behind the curtain of space should make anyone’s mind expand to new horizons.
In a cool way, this discovery validates the incredible space journey depicted in the space operatic epic Interstellar from 2014. Without revealing any spoilers, one of the planets they visit (as seen in the trailer) is covered in ice with relentlessly freezing temperatures. And, as mentioned in the quote above, the potential new planet would likely have similar conditions. Not even opening the debate to whether or not astronauts could one day step foot on this planet-like discovery, one of the important first questions to ask is how long would it take to travel through space to Pluto and into its orbit?
The most advanced propulsion systems we have today  require 10 to 15 years to deliver a 1.6-kilogram (3.5 lbs.) spacecraft into Pluto orbit.
–Tim DeBenedictis, “What Would It Take to Send People to Pluto?” Space.com
Whether or not we this mysterious planet-like mirror of Earth is deemed a planet, the fact that this is a scientific debate and that manned missions to Mars and Pluto are being considered with various scenarios and logistics spells an ambitious future for humans.
Or a doomed future for the people of Earth.
Hopefully, Interstellar isn’t entirely accurate in this regard.
Also, Goofy could work as a name for this prospective planet hanging around Pluto.
Why not have a sense of humor about this that’s literally out of this world?