As images were released from NASA’s historic New Horizons mission to Pluto, Mehdi Benna was quoted in a Baltimore Sun story and described the significance of the event. He said the science of the mission is most important and determining how Pluto’s history fits in the story of the formation of the solar system.
“By completing the flyby of Pluto, we will have visited all the nine planets of the traditional solar system — the way we know it, the way we were taught it in school,” said Benna, a Center for Space Science and Technology (CSST) planetary scientist.
Benna told the Sun that the key data being collected during the mission is on the origins of the solar system.
“Pluto is part of basically a family of what we call the Kuiper Belt objects,” he said. “By looking at these objects, basically, we’re looking at the remains of the formation of the solar system. These objects actually were the building blocks of the outer planets.”
“The most compelling result will be these images, these high resolution images beyond anything we were able to gather through remote observation from earth,” Benna said.
Read “UMBC scientist calls Pluto flyby a different kind of history lesson,” in the Baltimore Sun.