The New Horizons space probe is sending back incredible data from the Pluto-Charon system, even shaking the foundations of planetary geophysics. The spacecraft has the capacity to make another flyby of a second Kuiper Belt Object, with all-new data to shape our ideas about our solar system. All it takes is money.
If you’re truly loving Pluto, and if you think this New Horizons mission is well-worth its approximately $0.15 per American per year to develop, build, launch, and operate, then write to your congressional representatives. Tell your congresspeople to fund the New Horizons extended mission, and keep this spaceprobe operating after 2016 to keep doing science on a second Kuiper Belt flyby and out into deep space to see what we can find.
I’m greedy: I want all the science a whisper of propellant and a few grams of plutonium can get me. Let’s ride this excitement and get that extended mission funded and go explore another Kuiper Belt Object. We have the propellent to make a second flyby. We have a nuclear reactor to power the spaceprobe for decades. All we need is money to keep the antennas pointed in the right direction and the scientists supplied with coffee and computers.
Pluto and Charon are full of surprises; let’s see what either MT69 or MT70 can do to knock our theories back into brainstorming.
Top image credit: Alex Parker