Astronomer's ashes nearing icy world he discovered: Pluto

By MARCIA DUNN
AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Come Tuesday, Clyde Tombaugh will pass within 7,800 miles of the icy world he discovered 85 years ago.

His ashes are flying on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on humanity's first journey to Pluto.

New Horizons also is carrying a 1991 U.S. postage stamp that's about to become obsolete. The stamp trumpets "Pluto Not Yet Explored." Also on board are two state quarters, one for Florida, home to the launch site, and the other for Maryland, headquarters for the spacecraft developers and flight control.

In all, nine small mementos are tucked aboard New Horizons.

There's a good reason there are nine.

When New Horizons rocketed away from Cape Canaveral in 2006, Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system. It was demoted to a dwarf planet seven months later.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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