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In the news: between June 22-July 4, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between June 22-July 4, 2015

Kansan's ashes journey to Pluto - Dodge City Daily Globe

Days away from Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft will pass by with more than just scientific equipment onboard.

Launched in 2006, the spacecraft carries a small amount of Clyde Tombaugh's ashes. Tombaugh, who grew up in Burdett, discovered Pluto in 1930.

According to KHS, late in the afternoon on February 18, 1930, the 24-year-old Tombaugh was gazing into the eyepiece of a Zeiss Blink microscope at photographic images of a star field, examining a pair of plates taken in mid-January. His attention was caught by one of the millions of minute specks of lights whose image had moved slightly between one photograph and the next. He checked and rechecked his photographs for 45 minutes before calling his supervisors.

The observatory staff watched the star for a few weeks to confirm the movement, and on March 13, 1930, the discovery of the ninth planet was officially announced.

Tombaugh received an offer of a scholarship for the University of Kansas University, which he accepted.

Tombaugh's remains will fly past Pluto with New Horizons on July 14 and then on past Kuiper Belt objects in the succeeding years, according to NASA's website. As such, his ashes have become the first to be launched to the stars.

New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto, will provide the closest look ever at the dwarf planet while completing the initial reconnaissance of the solar system. The mission is the first in NASA's New Frontiers Program. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate and designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.

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