Pluto is a tiny world, but that’s no reason to think it’s not important. Today, the robot mission New Horizons is as close as we’ve yet gotten to the little iceball. In fact, by the time you read this, the probe will have flown by Pluto and gone on its way again, leaving us with enough scientific data to keep researchers busy for years to come. Objects like Pluto are fairly pristine leftovers from the early days of the Solar System. Seeing what they are composed of tells us a lot about how the primordial chemical components were spread around. It’s a mystery why two objects in a similar part of the Solar System should have wildly different compositions, the kind of mystery that makes scientists very happy.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.
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