Let’s check back in on Pluto, shall we?
In the midst of celebrating the news that Pluto successfully completed its flyby yesterday,The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert sat down with Neil deGrasse Tyson in what appears to be an intern’s cubicle to discuss the monumental event.
Colbert, excited that New Horizons, or the spacecraft “named after the assisted living center where you sent your pee-pop,” is sending the pics back from Pluto, whereas Tyson? Tyson, a well-known proponent of categorizing Pluto as a dwarf planet, is a little less excited about the event, calling it “awesome minus 10 percent.”
“It would be totally awesome if it was a much bigger place,” he says in the clip.
“So here’s the good thing about this,” Tyson says, adding that he’s not completely jaded about the flyby. “It’s not every day you get to be the first eyes to set upon a completely undiscovered land…It is especially beautiful and exciting because no one has seen this before yesterday.”
As to why Tyson still doesn’t think it should be a planet?
“If Neptune were a Chevy Impala parked at the curb, ask yourself what car would Pluto be?”
Colbert: “A matchbox car.”
“That’s exactly what it would be.”
Tyson also adds how impressed he was with New Horizons’ speed, which NASA reports is “the fastest spacecraft ever launched.”
As New Horizons “phoned home” last night around 9 p.m. ET, now we just sit and wait as the spacecraft sends data back to Earth. Follow the action via Twitter, as NASA promises to post updates as they receive them, including this incredibly cool timelapse series of pictures they posted last night of New Horizons’ approach: