It’s hard to imagine 3 billion miles, the distance (give or take) between Earth and Pluto. That’s the equivalent of about 12,500 trips to our moon.
Yet next month humanity will close the vast gap between itself and Pluto thanks to the New Horizons spacecraft: On July 14 it will come within 7,000 miles of contact, capturing the most detailed picture yet of what once was the remotest planet in our solar system. (Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006. We love it anyway.)
Leading the mission’s scientific work is Alan Stern (PhDAstro’89), who in 2007 was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Aboard the spacecraft is an instrument called the Student Dust Counter — built by CU-Boulder students. Writer Jim Scott (EPOBio’73) prepares us for the big encounter.
CU-Boulder will get you anywhere you care to go.