The #DearPluto Project! Join the #PlutoParty and the Conversation!
Article written in collaboration with Janet's Planet
Back in February, Janet's Planet received an invitation from Alan Stern, Principal Scientist for the Pluto mission, to do educational outreach for New Horizons. Janet told Alan, "Sir, you had me at Pluto, just give me a few days and let me see what kind of project we can develop."
Days later, Janet of Janet's Planet, was doing a NASA hands-on-activity for a 3rd grade class, where you take a 5 lb. ball of clay and using math, tenth and quarter it until the scale of the solar system is revealed. The students couldn't believe how small Earth is in relation to Jupiter and that Pluto is just a speck of clay in relation to Jupiter's massiveness. Questions about Pluto erupted and the 3rd graders all wanted to know why Pluto was only a dwarf planet. Janet gave them the IAU's 2006 definition, 1) a planet must be round, 2) a planet must orbit the sun, and the 3rd questionable criteria) that a planet must have enough mass to dominate the path in its own orbit/neighborhood. The kids weren't having it and so Janet challenged them to write to Mr. Alan and tell them why they thought Pluto should be a planet.
The #DearPluto Project
When Janet returned to the school the next week, the 3rd graders had written some thought provoking things. And thusly, the #DearPluto project was born. You can read some of the letters kids wrote to Alan Stern here.
Janet Ivey of Janet's Planet thought there might be lots of people with strong thoughts and theories about what New Horizons might find and launched the #DearPluto Project officially in March.
Targeted at kids but open to humans of all ages, the #DearPluto project is designed to create conversation and excitement about the historical discoveries that New Horizons will make as it takes the first ever photographs of this tiny world and what lies elsewhere in the Kuiper Belt.
Space exploration, science and a public conversation...
The #DearPluto Project invites people from all over the globe to write, tweet, post, comment, and video their letter to Pluto with the hashtag #DearPluto. You can express your thoughts, feelings, and well-wishes for a planet whose been through the astronomical ringer. New Horizons will clarify, and perhaps even right some planetary wrongs.
To join the conversation and for more details, visit www.janetsplanet.org/dear-pluto/.
In the Youtube series, Adventures to Pluto, Janet and EyeZak set out to find out all that they can about Pluto! Explore the history, the New Horizons mission, and the imagination with the crew of Janet's Planet!
What are you waiting for? Write or record your own message to Pluto!