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Buried In Space

Perfectly poetic. Pluto, in mythology, is the god of the Underworld, the Romanized version of the Greek Hades. Self-made scientist Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto. (Yes, it’s a planet, dammit! Reclassifications be damned!) It’s fitting that Pluto would end up being his final resting place. Sorta. They got him as close as they could, alright? A portion of Tombaugh’s ashes were placed onboard the spacecraft NEW HORIZONS, which buzzed past Pluto in 2015, eighteen years after Tombaugh died and was cremated. NEW HORIZONS didn’t crash into Pluto, though. It kept on going, right out of the solar system. It is currently over four billion miles from Earth. Tombaugh’s remains are truly going where no man has gone before.

Tombaugh was a self-taught astronomer. He created a high-powered telescope from pieces of a 1910 automobile and an old cream separator. He identified the existence of Pluto by examining the orbits of neighboring planets Uranus and Neptune. An eleven-year-old British girl named Venetia Burney suggested the name Pluto for the planet, which at that time had never been seen, and her grandfather forwarded the suggestion to astronomers in America. Tombaugh liked the name.

There’s something magical about the idea of sending human remains off into the great beyond.

TheCheezman • November 19, 2018

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