NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is expected to make the world’s first flyby of Pluto July 14 — and the Postal Service will be along for the ride.
Well, sort of.
The 1991 Pluto stamp is affixed to the probe, the Collect Space news site reported this week.
The stamp is part of a series celebrating space exploration. Each stamp features a planet and the spacecraft that explored it, as rendered by artist Ron Miller.
Since Pluto was unchartered territory at the time, its stamp bears the words “Not Yet Explored.”
Alan Stern, head of NASA’s mission to Pluto, told Astronomy magazine it was his idea to include the stamp on the 4.67 billion mile voyage. “Not Yet Explored” was “sort of a call to arms” for scientists, he said.
USPS Acting Stamp Services Director Mary-Anne Penner is pleased by the stamp’s new ambassadorial role. “We are hoping that the New Horizons mission provides Pluto with a ‘stamp of approval,’ regardless of its status in the solar system,” she told Collect Space.