The dwarf planet Pluto may not be smiling but most Americans are as the small sphere, for the first time, appears in a camera close-up.
History has been made. The new horizons spacecraft has made it closer to Pluto than any spacecraft ever has. This is giving us a look at the dwarf planet that no one has ever seen. The excitement over this massive mission just can't be contained. ”It's really exciting because it's probably once in a lifetime that you'll ever be able to see this far away planet,” smiles 9 year old Joseph Lasala Jr. “We were both pretty excited when we woke up and rushed over here just to be a part of it,” adds his dad Joseph Lasala Sr.
At the Houston Museum of Natural Science there was a big watch party and fans of the fantastic voyage just keep coming by to witness history.
”This is my only daughter and I'm very excited to share this with her,” explains Houstonian Judy White.
So what are some of the surprises we didn't know about Pluto that we know now? ”We've nailed down size. It's a tad bit bigger than we thought it was,” says Houston Museum of Natural Science Planetarium Astronomer James Wooten.
“We never knew it was going to be red. We never knew there would be a heart on it, which of course is a natural way the sands and ice are put together,” adds Houston Museum of Natural Science Vice President of Astronomy and Physics Dr. Carolyn Sumners.
“I've always loved astronomy. To hear we're finally reaching Pluto, that was just mind-blowing. So I had to come by,” smiles 16 year old Sarah O’Connor.
New Horizons left Earth almost 10 years ago. It has taken that long to travel the more than 3 billion mile journey. “It's four light hours away. (Say) "Hello", wait four hours and somebody hears it. That's how far away Pluto is,” explains Dr. Sumners.
The Starry Night Express planetarium show about Pluto will run at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for the next several months.