In 2006, New Horizons Spacecraft left earth in search of better data about the solar system. This week it achieved a significant milestone in the mission and returned some stunning data about the only planet ever to become publicly demoted from planet to dwarf, after over 75 years on the top charts.
Below are before and after photographs of Pluto from the NPR Website. The left shows Hubble Space Telescope’s image of the former planet compared with the flyby image returned by the New Horizons spacecraft.
The difference in what is now known about Pluto’s shape and topography visually is nothing compared to the granular geologic and biological data that can be collected by spectroscopy during this flyby. These photos show that only by going after the truth and finding it for ourselves, first hand, will we see how little we really knew. And how fuzzy our assumptions are seen in hindsight, and how clear they seemed again here in the present. To sum it up:
“True understanding is subverted the
moment we are comfortably satisfied
with our understanding of the truth.”
– Jon Lybrook