© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Remembering Uncle Clyde, The Man Who Found Pluto


In 2006, NASA launched the New Horizons mission to explore the far edge of the Milky Way. Tuesday morning, the spacecraft finally reached its closest approach to Pluto and sent back the best pictures we've ever seen.

The study of Pluto actually started in 1930. That's when Clyde Tombaugh--a farmer from Burdett, Kansas--discovered the dwarf planet. At the time, he was working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

People around the world are keeping track of the New Horizons mission. Among them is Doug Tombaugh, of Kansas City, Clyde Tombaugh's nephew.

KPR's J. Schafer recently spoke to him about his famous uncle. Doug said his uncle couldn't afford to go to college, so he started teaching himself about astronomy on the family farm in central Kansas.

After traveling 3 billion miles, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was expected to fly by Pluto Tuesday morning. Tucked away onboard the craft, inside a small canister, are some of the cremated remains of Clyde Tombaugh.