Friday, December 18, 2015

NASA Pluto flyby honored with USPS stamp series

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday previewed a new series of 2016 space-themed stamp sets honoring both the planetary discoveries made by NASA and a stand alone set honoring the exciting views of the dwarf planet Pluto.

One of the space milestones of 2015 was the arrival and flyby of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. New Horizons captured thousands of colorful photographs of the farthest planet from the Sun, a place yet unseen by human eyes until last July.

A four stamp sheet will feature two of the color enhanced view of Pluto highlighted by the popular heart shaped region named Tombaugh Regio. The second stamp is an artist's depiction of the spacecraft soaring through space. The Pluto stamps will be available in June.

“The New Horizons project is proud to have such an important honor from the U.S. Postal Service,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said on Wednesday. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see these new stamps join others commemorating first explorations of the planets.”

The Pluto stamps will arrive 25 years after the Postal Service released the first Pluto stamp which featured an artist's rendition of the unseen planet. The 29-cent stamp was titled "Pluto Not Yet Explored". In 2006, NASA launched that stamp aboard New Horizons and today that stamp

A separate stamp series will honor NASA's discovery of our solar system's planets over the last 50 years. The eight new domestic Forever stamps will each feature one of the eight planets in high resolution true view color. Earth's stamp highlights the view of the North and Central Americas; and the Jupiter stamp includes three of its 67 natural satellites silhouetted above the planet's surface.

“It’s exciting to see that planetary science and space exploration are being celebrated in these new 2016 stamps,” NASA’s associate administrator for science John Grunsfeld noted. “On behalf of NASA scientists across the nation, we’re honored that the U.S. Postal Service has chosen to highlight NASA’s New Horizons and 50 years of planetary exploration with these iconic images.”

A third set of 2016 stamps will feature the Earth's full moon illuminated in the night sky. This Global Forever stamp will cost $1.20 each, and will allow a one-ounce letter to be mailed worldwide via First-Class Mail International service.

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