A 1991 Pluto: Not Yet Explored stamp traveled more than 3 billion miles on a spacecraft to the dwarf planet has earned the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS achievement for the farthest distance traveled by a postage stamp. The stamp also served as NASA’s rallying cry to set the record straight for exploring Pluto.
This record will extend another 1 billion miles, as NASA recently announced the New Horizons mission will journey beyond Pluto to visit a Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69 — considered to be one of the early building blocks of the solar system.
The U.S. Postal Service and NASA marked the achievement July 19 at a ceremony at Postal Service headquarters. Space fans are asked to share the news on social media using the hashtag #PlutoExplored!
“In 2006, NASA placed a 29-cent “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” stamp on board the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto and beyond,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and Executive Vice President Jim Cochrane. “That historic flyby with Pluto took place last summer — July 14, 2015, to be precise — after New Horizons travelled more than three billion miles in its nine and a half year journey.”
“Two months ago, at the World Stamp Show in New York City, we issued the “Pluto—Explored!” Forever Stamps that honor the milestone of the New Horizons’ flyby. I think employees at NASA and the Postal Service can take pride in what these accomplishments represent for our organizations and for our country — the talent, the dedication, the hard work, the technological achievement.”
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS official adjudicator Jimmy Coggins presented the certificate to Cochrane. NASA Director of Planetary Science Jim Green and New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute provided the backstory on the stamp and 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,” said Coggins. “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.”
“The New Horizons mission to Pluto is not only writing space history, it’s setting a high bar for achievements beyond its many science discoveries,” said Green. “NASA joins the U.S. Postal Service in expressing our mutual appreciation for this special recognition.”
“The New Horizons project is truly honored to be recognized by Guinness World Records for its achievements,” said Stern. “Among my personal favorites are being the fastest spacecraft ever launched, the first mission to explore the Pluto system, the mission that explored the farthest worlds ever visited, and now sending a U.S. postage stamp farthest from Earth!”