What touches my heart? A myriad of things brings a tear to the eye and a smile to my face -- kittens, babies, the people I love.
While those wonderful things might garner an “aww,” or a “that’s nice,” or even a “bless your heart,” talking about them won’t really entertain you. Have you already fallen asleep?
Well let me wake you up with my geeky love of science. And Pluto. YES, PLUTO. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, we must honor the planet that literally wears a heart on its surface (See photo below).
I’ve been fascinated with little Pluto since the day I memorized the name of the nine planets. Obviously, I know Pluto is no longer a planet. Really, is there anyone on normal-sided planet Earth who doesn’t know poor Pluto is now a dwarf? Frankly, I don’t get all the fuss? After all, isn’t being a dwarf planet far preferable to being a gas giant? Pluto is actually the kitten of the solar system—just look at the picture, all crimson and shiny white heart. Almost makes you want to hug it.
Like most heroes, Pluto has been greatly misunderstood. Discovered in 1930, scientists thought Pluto was a cold dead world, not unlike our moon, although Pluto is only two-thirds the diameter of the moon. Then the New Horizons mission by NASA changed all that. We now know the planet has an active geology with ice volcanoes; a mountain range 11,000 feet tall; and a subsurface ocean. Even though tiny Pluto is over 3.5 billion miles from the sun, some scientists believe it might harbor primitive life. There’s a lot packed into that little dwarf.
Pluto epitomizes the wonders of discovery. This little planet—excuse me, dwarf planet--demonstrates that things are not always what they seem. In a remote way, it demonstrates that good things do come in small packages. It also reminds us that we have so much to learn, and that there is joy in the learning. It gives us hope for life, both alien and humankind.
And I hope you have a fabulous Valentine’s day.