How big is Texas compared to Pluto?
This was just one of many questions that ran through Texans’ minds when a nine-year, three-billion-mile NASA mission reached its goal this morning when the New Horizons spacecraft made the first close-encounter pass with the former planet.
Here is the answer you’ve been waiting for:
According to the Texas Almanac, the longest straight-line distance between two points in Texas, from the northwest corner of the Panhandle to the southernmost tip on the Rio Grande River below Brownsville, is 801 miles.
Measurements from the probe New Horizons, whose mission marks the farthest distance humanity has ever made, has put Pluto as a wee bit bigger than previous estimates with a diameter of 1,473 miles.
In other words, the dwarf planet is just double the size of the biggest state in the continental United States when it comes to distance across.
But when it comes to surface area, the dwarf planet dwarfs the Lone Star state: With an estimated surface area of 6,427,806 square miles, Pluto could hold almost 24 states the size of Texas.
That’s not bad considering that Pluto is the largest known object in the solar system beyond Neptune.
Way to go, Texas.
Now that you have the hard data, here is a rough estimate of Texas versus Pluto, Texas versus Pluto’s largest moon Ceres and Texas versus the moon: