For the Media

Search Archive


Contact Us

Main & Health Science Campus
University Hall

Room: 2110
Mail Stop 949
Phone: 419.530.2002
Fax: 419.530.4618

UT professor available to discuss importance of Pluto exploration

NASA revealed the most detailed photo yet of Pluto, transmitted by the New Horizons spacecraft that was launched in January 2006.

“With this mission, Pluto becomes a real place,” said Mike Cushing, University of Toledo astronomy professor and director of the Ritter Planetarium. “Before, our best telescopes could only see it as a blotchy disk. But now we can see that it has surface features like craters, cliffs and chasms.”

The New Horizons mission completes our initial reconnaissance of the solar system, Cushing said, which is a journey that began with the exploration of Venus by the Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962.

“Over the course of 53 years we have now seen, up close, all of the major bodies in our solar system,” Cushing said.

The entirety of the data from New Horizons will take more than a year to reach Earth. To collect photos of Pluto, New Horizons had to turn its antenna away from our planet. Late last night, New Horizons turned its antenna back to Earth and “phoned home,” letting NASA scientists know the spacecraft survived its trip through the Pluto system, Cushing explained.

Throughout July, UT’s Ritter Planetarium is featuring “Pluto-Live!” a program celebrating the New Horizons mission, at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and UT community members. For more information, visit

To schedule an interview with Cushing about the importance of the New Horizons mission and learning more about Pluto, contact Aimee Portala at 419.530.4279 or

Media Coverage
The Blade (July 17, 2015)
NBC 24 (July 21, 2015)


is UT's Media Relations Specialist. Contact her at 419.530.2077 or
Email this author | All posts by

Comments are closed.