Beyond the rocky planets neighboring Earth and both the outlying gas and ice giants, sits the dark and icy dwarf planet, Pluto.
Until July 14th of this year, when the New Horizons spacecraft made the closest-ever flyby, Pluto had never truly been explored. It was out of reach, nestled deep in the third zone of our solar system, the Kuiper Belt, a circling mass of frozen, asteroid-like objects whose inner edge is about 2.8 billion miles from the sun.
Until now, our perception of the dwarf planet has been shrouded mostly in mystery.
Yet there is one man aboard New Horizons without whom we wouldn’t be here at all.
On February 18, 1930, at only 24 years of age, Clyde Tombaugh made a historic discovery. A young astronomer fascinated with the stars, Tombaugh found what was then believed to be the 9th planet of our solar system.