APPROACHING PLUTO

21 06 2015

pluto b

APPROACHING PLUTO

Slowly, slowly, like a fish-feasted skull floating up from the ocean’s depths
Your features are being revealed.
So far your face shows just hints of light and dark:
A bright line here, a shadowy… something… there.
But no sparks of recognition yet;
We cannot know which patches are cratered plains, or
Which pixels are mountains’ jagged peaks,
Those secrets are still yours to keep a while longer.
And so, we wait; your blurry disc triggering memories
Of pre-Mariner Mars in the old timers from JPL,
Staring at iPads in packed Pasadenan bars,
Having waited all their lives for these science fiction days to dawn,
While impatient armchair astronauts – Photoshop sharp-shooters
And GIMP Gandalfs – leap gleefully on each new LORRI frame,
Saving them to hard drives before spending a coffee-fuelled night
Teasing features from their hazy dots and lines.

Soon we will Know You; soon we will swoon to pin-sharp views
Of – what? Tritonian black smoker plumes?
A lemon sorbet swirl of ice around your chocolate pole?
Methane clouds casting rolling shadows on craters
Wide enough to put Copernicus to shame?

(c) Stuart Atkinson 2015

Image courtesy of Bjorn Jonsson