Pluto stamp honored as farthest-out postage

Image: Pluto stamp
The 1991 stamp that served as the rallying cry for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto is “updated” by members of the New Horizons science team on July 14, 2015, the day the spacecraft reached Pluto. (Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA)

We’ve known for years that a 1991 Pluto stamp included on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is the farthest-out piece of postage, but now the U.S. Postal Service and Guinness World Records have officially put it in the record books.

The message on the stamp, “Pluto: Not Yet Explored,” was basically canceled a year ago when New Horizons flew past the dwarf planet, taking pictures as it zoomed by at 36,000 mph.

To celebrate the record – and the New Horizons achievement that rendered the stamp obsolete – the USPS played host to the New Horizons team and Guinness World Records adjudicator Jimmy Coggins today at its Washington headquarters. Coggins presented a certificate recognizing the record to the Postal Service’s Jim Cochrane, NASA’s Jim Green and the Southwest Research Institute’s Alan Stern, who is the principal investigator for the New Horizons mission.

“The farthest distance traveled by a postage stamp is a quite an impressive achievement, as it spans many planets and billions of miles. As stamps are synonymous with travel, it is fitting that one would travel within the solar system,” Coggins said in a news release. “It’s an honor to be a part of this historic moment and welcome the United States Postal Service to the Guinness World Records family.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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