A representative from NASA will present a talk on Pluto and Ceres

By Christopher Neely

WALL TOWNSHIP –  Since 2006, Pluto has been removed from the list of planets in our solar system.

This weekend, a representative from NASA will visit the lnfoAge Science and History Learning Center to discuss new discoveries made about the former planet.

On Sunday, Aug. 28, lnfoAge’s Exploration Center [ISEC] will welcome NASA’s Frank O’Brien, who will visit the Camp Evans campus to present his talk, “Pluto and Ceres –                                                                    A Tale of Two [Dwarf] Planets.”

The talk is part of the educational program that runs in conjunction with ISEC since the space exploration center opened a few months ago. On the last Sunday of every month, ISEC hosts a special lecture series that deals with outer space, space travel or living in space.

Last month, Mr. O’Brien visited ISEC to discuss roving on Mars. This month, Mr. O’Brien’s lecture will focus on Pluto and Ceres, two dwarf planets that share an orbit on the outskirts of our solar system.

Mr. O’Brien will discuss the early evolution of the solar system and go into detail on why Pluto was demoted from a planet to a dwarf planet. A brief explanation is that a planet is defined as a heavenly body that clears its orbital path of everything.

Scientists thought this was the case for Pluto, until they found Ceres on the same orbital path, which by definition, erased the title of planet from Pluto’s resume.

Dan Lieb is a member of lnfoAge’s board of trustees and helps organize ISEC’s monthly lecture program. He said that there is no better place to talk about space since what is known as the “Space Age” started at Camp Evans after scientists discovered that radio waves could be sent and received from outer space in 1946.

Mr. Lieb said Sunday’s talk will discuss new developments learned from recent discoveries about Pluto and Ceres.

“In the last year, NASA spacecraft have journeyed to Pluto and Ceres, returning pictures and science that give us new insights on how the solar system was formed,” Mr. Lieb said in a press release. “They found unexpected vistas, from frozen oceans nitrogen to mountains of salt. These discoveries help confirm that the early solar system was a chaotic place.”

“Pluto and Ceres –   A Tale of Two [Dwarf] Planets” will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. at ISEC,  located at 2300 Marconi Road in Wall Township. The event is free to the public.