Pluto Express?

— 10:39 AM on May 8, 2001

This story at CNN is not new. In fact, it is coming close to a year old, but it is still relevant and it poses a question I want to ask of you, our readers, who I imagine are quite interested in the stars.

Pluto and its moon Charon are celestial bodies of great mystery and debate. Why is it at the end of the solar system and among the company of the gas giants? Why is it on its side like Uranus? Why is its moon Charon so large? How did the two become tied together? Are Pluto and Charon actually two planets? Should Pluto even be considered a planet?Those questions only begin to scratch the surface of a long list of mysteries about the last unvisited planet in the solar system. Not until just two months ago did we even knew the color of the surface of the planet.

Despite all this, NASA's planned probe mission to Pluto, the Pluto Express, is in danger of not receiving the funding it needs. If it's delayed too much longer, we may not see what Pluto looks like in our lifetimes. I can only see such a delay as a terrible tragedy.

There is still a chance to save it. The details of what needs to be done are here. The bigger question, though, is: should we? Do you believe that Pluto should be explored? Or do you believe that there are much more important goals in space exploration that should be achieved first?

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