Why? Why go to Pluto? Are we looking for a new place to live? Mars is the closest planet to us away from the Sun. We’ve sent probes and rovers there and gathered all kinds of information on it. Mars doesn’t seem like the nicest place to live. The Sun is the life force of this planet, if the next planet from the Sun is hostile, then the farthest planet must be that much worse. What we already know sounds terminal to our type of life.
Are we looking for some precious minerals and resources? The expense of getting there and back would far outweigh the benefits.
Are we going just for the sake of going? Just so we can say we did it? Probably. The history of human exploration would seem to indicate that. We explore simply to learn. Any benefits we get from exploring are never fully known in advance.
There have been some obvious advantages that have come from space travel. Getting to Pluto could give us some benefits. It could be a place to set up a telescope for looking farther into space, similar to the Hubble telescope currently in orbit. It could also be set up as a base for deeper space travel. The thing is we won’t know for sure until we send a probe there. A land based telescope on Pluto could end up being useless if Pluto’s atmosphere and climate block out any view of its sky. Similarly, in the case of establishing a human base, the planet may be truly uninhabitable. We may not be able to develop the materials needed to survive on its surface.
After Mars, Pluto is the next obvious place to explore. The planets between them, from Jupiter to Neptune, are all “gas giants.” Nothing we have on this planet can survive their crushing gravity – although some of the moons of these planets show promise for exploration.
So, why go to Pluto? Because out of the planets we’ve looked at, we can. We go, because we can.