Random Geekery

Half a Life

Added by to Marginalia on

Tags · space ·

Next? Hugo Professor Whom Scarf

Scientists discovered Pluto had a moon when I was six years old. This is what they had to work with.

Charon Discovery
Charon Discovery (US Naval Observatory via NASA)

All sorts of adults wondered what discoveries I could look forward to by the time I was their age. No idea how old they were. I was a kid. They were ancient. Let us say they were middle-aged.

I turned 43 in 2015 - statistically speaking, past the halfway point for someone like me. So that makes me middle aged. What do Pluto and Charon look like now?

Thanks to NASA’s New Horizons we know what Pluto and Charon look like up close. NASA made us a nice family montage photo.

Pluto and Charon
Pluto and Charon (NASA)

But this Pluto picture blows my mind every time I look at it. We see ice and mountains and an atmosphere. This is a planet!

Pluto's Landscape
Pluto's Landscape (NASA)

Okay “dwarf planet.” That blob on the outermost reach of my childhood solar system is now a dwarf planet with moons, a landscape, and thousands of Kuiper belt neighbors.

And that is just Pluto. So much amazing stuff has been discovered and witnessed since my childhood.

I live across the street from a K-8 school. Some of those kids are about six years old. I wonder what discoveries they will see by the time they reach my age?