New Stamps Honoring NASA Planetary Discoveries Debut May 31

With this pane of 16 Forever stamps, the Postal Service showcases some of the more visually compelling historic, full-disk images of the planets obtained during the last half-century of NASA space exploration. Eight new colorful Forever stamps – each shown twice – feature Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS

With this pane of 16 Forever stamps, the Postal Service showcases some of the more visually compelling historic, full-disk images of the planets obtained during the last half-century of NASA space exploration. Eight new colorful Forever stamps – each shown twice – feature Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS

May 25, 2016 – Coming next week to a post office near you: new “Views of Our Planets” Forever stamps featuring iconic images of the planets in our solar system, including the well-known “Blue Marble” photo of Earth. New “Pluto Explored” Forever stamps commemorating the July 2015 flyby of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft also are being issued for online purchase.

The May 31 first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Pluto and planetary stamps will be in New York City at World Stamp Show-NY 2016. This international gathering of stamp collectors occurs only once each decade in the United States, and – with more than 250,000 visitors expected to attend – is the largest stamp show in the world.

“The unveiling of these breathtaking new images of Pluto and our planets will be an exciting day for NASA and for all who love space exploration, said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With the 2015 Pluto flyby, we’ve completed the initial reconnaissance of the solar system, and we’re grateful to the U.S. Postal Service for commemorating this historic achievement.”

Green will be among featured speakers and honored guests at an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. Among other VIPs scheduled to attend are: Dave Williams, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the U.S. Postal Service; NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan; John Grunsfeld, astronaut and former associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate; New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute; New Horizons Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL); and Norman Kuring, oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The souvenir sheet of four New Horizons stamps features two new stamps appearing twice. The first stamp is an artist’s rendering of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft based on artwork created by APL’s Steve Gribben, while the second stamp shows an enhanced color image of Pluto taken by New Horizons near its closest approach to Pluto. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS

The souvenir sheet of four New Horizons stamps features two new stamps appearing twice. The first stamp is an artist’s rendering of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft based on artwork created by APL’s Steve Gribben, while the second stamp shows an enhanced color image of Pluto taken by New Horizons near its closest approach to Pluto. Image Credit: USPS/Antonio Alcalá © 2016 USPS

The Pluto stamps are of special significance to NASA and the New Horizons team, which placed a 29-cent 1991 “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” stamp on board the APL-built spacecraft. On July 14, 2015, New Horizons carried the stamp on its history-making journey to Pluto and beyond, as jubilant members of the mission team celebrated with a large print, striking the words “not yet.”

New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO., left, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Director Ralph Semmel, center, and New Horizons Co-Investigator Will Grundy Lowell Observatory hold a print of an U.S. stamp with their suggested update since the New Horizons spacecraft has explored Pluto,  Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO., left, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Director Ralph Semmel, center, and New Horizons Co-Investigator Will Grundy Lowell Observatory hold a print of an U.S. stamp with their suggested update since the New Horizons spacecraft has explored Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

“The 1991 stamp that showed Pluto ‘not yet explored’ highlighted some important, unfinished business for NASA’s first exploration of the planets of our solar system,” said Stern. “I’m thrilled that 25 years later, these new stamps recognize that Pluto has, indeed, been explored by the New Horizons spacecraft and has been revealed to be a complex and fascinating world.”

The new “Views of our Planets” stamps will be widely available across the U.S. at post offices and for online purchase beginning May 31. The Pluto—Explored! Forever stamps will only be sold online or by calling 800-782-6724.