New Pluto And Planetary Stamps Wow At World Stamp Show

NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan addresses a crowd of stamp aficionados at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 at the Javits Center, New York. Image Credit: USPS/Daniel Afzal

NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan addresses a crowd of stamp aficionados at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 at the Javits Center, New York. Image Credit: USPS/Daniel Afzal

June 1, 2016 – Breathtaking images of Pluto and the planets are getting a stamp of approval from the U.S. Postal Service, which unveiled striking new Forever stamps at the World Stamp Show NY-2016 on Tuesday.

“The issuing of these ‘Views of our Planets’ and ‘Pluto Explored’ stamps has special significance for NASA, since this represents the culmination of a half-century of space exploration,” said NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. “With the July 14, 2015 flyby of Pluto, we’ve completed the checklist of all the classical planets and can now declare—‘mission accomplished.’”

Joining Stofan in delivering remarks were NASA’s Director of Planetary Science Jim Green, New Horizons’ Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, and Norman Kuring, oceanographer at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland—creator of the iconic “Blue Marble” image of Earth.

The crowd of about 500 philatelists cheered as Stofan quipped, “I may have to stop emailing and start writing letters again.”

In dedicating the stamps, U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams noted, “In 2006, NASA placed a 29-cent ‘Pluto: Not Yet Explored’ stamp on board the New Horizons spacecraft, which – it is safe to say – makes it the most widely-traveled stamp in the universe.”

The 45-minute ceremony was followed by an autograph session, in which speakers and VIPs signed first day of issue programs for hundreds of stamp enthusiasts—the line snaking through the hallways of the Javits Center in New York City.

Stamp collectors line up for autographs following the ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue for new “Pluto Explored” and “Views of Our Planet” stamps at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016, New York. Image Credit: Michael Soluri

Stamp collectors line up for autographs following the ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue for new “Pluto Explored” and “Views of Our Planet” stamps at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016, New York. Image Credit: Michael Soluri

The planetary stamps are now being sold at most U.S. post offices. The Pluto—Explored! Forever stamps are available online or by calling 800-782-6724.

“These breathtaking new images of Pluto and our planets make for an exciting day for NASA and for all who love space exploration,” said Green. “We’re grateful to the U.S. Postal Service for commemorating this historic achievement.”

The color image of Pluto that appears on the stamp was assembled by Alex Parker during the New Horizons’ Pluto flyby in July 2015. Parker is a planetary astronomer working at SwRI in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2006, NASA placed a 29-cent 1991 ‘Pluto: Not Yet Explored’ stamp in the New Horizons spacecraft. In July of 2015 the spacecraft carried the stamp on its historic mission to Pluto and beyond. The souvenir sheet of four stamps contains two new stamps appearing twice. The first is an artist’s rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft and the second is an enhanced color image of Pluto taken near closest approach. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá/© 2016 USPS

In 2006, NASA placed a 29-cent 1991 ‘Pluto: Not Yet Explored’ stamp in the New Horizons spacecraft. In July of 2015 the spacecraft carried the stamp on its historic mission to Pluto and beyond. The souvenir sheet of four stamps contains two new stamps appearing twice. The first is an artist’s rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft and the second is an enhanced color image of Pluto taken near closest approach. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá/© 2016 USPS