Wonder what all the fuss is about Pluto? New “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson are here to help — and explain why it’s still not a planet.
“This morning, at 7:49 Eastern time, the New Horizon space craft made the closest ever pass near Pluto after being launched almost a decade ago, back when NASA had the cash to do cool stuff like this,” says Colbert in a new video for CBS, referring to Tuesday’s (July 14) pass of the probe near Pluto. “After almost a century of near-total mystery, we finally know what Pluto really looks like — a Malted Milk Ball left in the rain 4.7 billion miles from the sun.”
Tyson adds, “It’s not every day where you get to be the first eyes to set upon a completely undiscovered land. … It is especially beautiful and especially exciting because no one has seen this before yesterday. Not only that, there’s higher resolution photos … and we’ll have even more detail than what is here.”
But Colbert wants to remind everyone: “Remember, this is 2005 technology, so the probe is also posting all the photos to Friendster.”
He’s kidding, but seriously — the probe was launched 10 years ago and is just now reaching Pluto, so it really does have the upload speeds of a 56K modem.
Tyson also has a lot of interesting information about Pluto and its moon, Charon — but don’t start calling Pluto a planet again. It’s still isn’t big enough to qualify as a planet. It’s a dwarf planet.
“Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth and Earth is five times wider than Pluto … rather than call Pluto a planet, I’d rather take all the four rocky planets and call them dwarf planets,” says Tyson, at which Colbert is absolutely outraged.
“You would turn Earth into a dwarf planet?! … That’s where everyone turned the corner just now, you can hear audible gasps out there,” exclaims Colbert.
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” launches Tuesday, Sept. 8 on CBS.