Only a few months now separates us from humanity's first close-up view of the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of icy dwarf planets beyond Neptune. Pluto is the most famous denizen of the Kuiper Belt, having been recently demoted from its status as the ninth planet. The New Horizons spacecraft is currently hurtling toward Pluto, and even though it is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, planetary scientists have had to wait patiently for nine years to get there. During that waiting time, we have made new discoveries about Pluto, and recent research done at Wheaton has pointed to a possible warm and habitable past beneath its frozen exterior. This summer, we will learn whose ideas about Pluto are right, and whose are wrong, as close-up images and other data stream back to Earth. If past experience is a guide, we will certainly discover something we never expected.
Come and find out what we expect to find, what we might find, and what would be really amazing to find. Presented by Geoff Collins, Professor of Geology on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 from 12:30 - 1:30 pm in PDR.
Click here for the schedule of all Spring 2015 Faculty Luncheon Talks.