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Planet Seals: New Stamps Showing NASA Discoveries Debut May 31

May 31, 2016 06:40 AM EDT
Artist's impression of New Horizons spacecraft fly-by of Pluto
The 2016 stamps commemorates July 2015 flyby of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which is featured in the new “Pluto Explored” Forever stamps
(Photo : NASA/Wikimedia Commons)

A series of postage stamps for 2016 honoring NASA's new discoveries will be available starting May 31.

The new "Views of Our Planets" Forever stamps featuring iconic images of all planets in our solar system will be unveiled, with the new "Pluto Explored" Forever stamps completing the list.

The dedication ceremony for the Pluto and planetary stamps will be held at the World Stamp Show 2016 in New York City. This international gathering of stamp collectors happens once every 10 years in the United States, and is known as the largest stamp show in the world participated by more than 250,000 people.

"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," Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a NASA news release.

"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 event," he added.

The 2016 stamps commemorate July 2015 flyby of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which is featured in the new "Pluto Explored" Forever stamps.

The stamps showcase more visually compelling historic, full-disk images of the planets taken during NASA explorations in the last 50 years. The new "Pluto Explored" Forever stamps feature an image of Pluto and a picture of the New Horizons spacecraft.

During its journey to Pluto, the New Horizons team placed a 29-cent 1991 "Pluto: Not Yet Explored" stamp on board the spacecraft. On July 14, 2015, the spacecraft carried the stamp on its journey to Pluto and beyond as members of the mission team celebrated with a giant print-out of the stamp with the words "NOT YET" erased.

"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 NASA chief scientist Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute.

The new "Views of our Planets" stamps will be available online and in post offices across the U.S. starting May 31. The "Pluto Explored" Forever stamps are only available online.

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