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Opinion

Readers React: For humanity’s sake, spend more on science projects like New Horizons

New Horizons releases images of Pluto’s surface, moon

New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise -- a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet. 

(NASA)

To the editor: As a physicist, I never cease to be amazed by the miraculous insights about our physical world and universe that continue to be garnered via scientific exploration. (“High-resolution shocker: Pluto has Rocky Mountain-sized peaks, New Horizons reveals,” July 15)

To successfully send a spacecraft billions of miles to photograph and study a tiny, forbidding, cold and alien body — Pluto — demonstrates how far the human race has come.

If only our leaders would set their sights on furthering the human race, rather than destroying it, via continued support for scientific research, one can only imagine how much farther we might travel in the future.

Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.

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The writer is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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To the editor: The lack of understanding of what’s important that The Times sometimes exhibits was displayed in Thursday’s paper.

The incredible technological feat of being able to explore the farthest reaches of our solar system got only a back-page mention (although it was on Tuesday’s front page). The escape of a Mexican convict and the attendance rates at soccer games got front-page space and multiple columns.

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And you ask why our youth are scientifically ignorant? You and your fellow newspapers, exhibiting a deplorable lack of understanding of the accomplishments of science, are part of the cause.

Christopher Purcell, La Quinta

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To the editor: Clyde W. Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930, also taught Astronomy 1 at UCLA, where I was a junior in the late 1940s. It was a very demanding subject taught by a disarmingly low-key professor.

What I learned in that class has influenced my thinking all my life. The latest astronomical evidence has reinforced memories of that outstanding time.

Dorothy Fabricant, Winnetka

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