Astronomy and stamp collecting: two great geek pastimes that go great together. Now you have the chance to help the most beleaguered of astronomical objects — the “dwarf” planet Pluto — get its own USPS stamp. The proposed stamp recognizes New Horizons, the first spacecraft to explore that corner of our solar system and due to fly by Pluto in 2015.
New Horizons is a NASA robotic spacecraft headed to Pluto and will be the first craft to pass Pluto and its moons — Charon, Nix, Hydra and S/2011 P 1. It should arrive at the Pluto-Charon system July 14, 2015, and start broadcasting the first clear photos of those bodies we have ever seen.
Although more commonly known for its political and social petitions, the website Change.org has a petition to honor New Horizons and the exploration of Pluto with a USPS stamp. Created by the NASA New Horizons team, the petition is seeking 100,000 signatures. Last I checked had just broken 8,000, so they have a ways to go.
From the petition letter:
With the New Horizons flyby of Pluto, the U.S. space program will complete the first era of planetary reconnaissance, a profoundly inspiring feat of lasting historical significance. Moreover, the Pluto flyby will represent the first exploration of the Kuiper Belt, the first exploration of a double planet, the first exploration of an ice dwarf planet, and the farthest object ever explored in space.
The petition urges the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee to recommend to the Postmaster General a stamp in honor of New Horizons. Help out by signing the petition, and then spreading the word through your social network of choice.
It may have lost its status as a planet, but Pluto still deserves our respect as the tenth largest observable object orbiting the sun.