Spacefaring Stamp Sets World Record
Members of the New Horizons team celebrated last year with a blown up image of the postage stamp when the probe made its closest approach to Pluto. Bill Ingalls/AP hide caption
toggle caption Bill Ingalls/AP
A postage-paid space voyage!
An interplanetary “Ha!”
Or, maybe just a postal metaphor writ large.
However you phrase it, a 29-cent stamp has boldly reached Pluto and then some, making it the farthest-traveling postage stamp, according to the Guinness World Records organization.
NASA scientists included the 1991 “Pluto:Not Yet Explored” stamp – fitting cargo, right? – among other items on the New Horizons space probe when it launched in 2006. The probe conducted its closest flyby to Pluto in July of last year, and its mission has been extended to take it deeper into the Kuiper Belt, the region of the solar system beyond the planet Neptune.
In all, the space probe has surpassed 3 billion miles sending back the most detailed pictures of Pluto to date, as well as offering a giant rebuke to the stamp’s assertion.
Interestingly enough, this is the second time the New Horizons mission has occasioned interplay between the philatelic and the interplanetary.
In May, the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of Forever stamps incorporating images captured by New Horizons and an update to 1991’s version: Pluto – Explored!
Still, it’ll be far behind the Voyager I spacecraft, which left the solar system nearly four years ago and has more than 10 billion miles on our intrepid stamp.