The Dark Side of Pluto
The then eleven year old Venetia Burney from Oxford came up with the name, inspired by the god of the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology, who is better known as Hades. The plutoid Pluto is located rather far from the end of the Universe, but it is still more than a short trip away. Today the distance between the Earth and Pluto is about 4.826×10^9 kilometres, and even light, with its enormous speed, spends 268 minutes from the Earth to Pluto.
Planets and space have often given inspiration to the theme of The Gathering. In 2001 the theme was "A Cyberspace Odyssey", inspired by the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". The movie depicts a group of astronauts as they head for the Moon and Jupiter, lead by the voice of the computer HAL 9000. Three years later it was time for another space inspired theme: "Rescue of Fractalus". This theme was inspired by the game "Rescue on Fractalus!" from Lucasfilm Games. The story takes place on an alien planet with a rugged terrain and a thick atmosphere, where one have to fight one's way down to the surface and rescue pilots from Ethercorp.
No more than two years later it was yet again time for a new space inspired computer party theme. NASA sent their first probe named "New Horizons" towards the planet Pluto on the 19th of January 2006. At this time, all tickets for TG06 were sold out, and enthusiastic participants were waiting for the seat reservation to open. This NASA project inspired the theme of The Gathering that year: "The Gathering 2006: The Dark Side of Pluto"
But what has happened since then? Well, the same year as the probe "New Horizons" was launched into space, the planet Pluto was degraded to a dwarf planet, only to later be upgraded to a "plutoid". The probe is still on a steady course for Pluto, and it has been travelling for 2255 days. It has passed Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. But it is still 1207 days left until the probe reaches Pluto. In other words, this will take place in the middle of July 2015. At The Gathering, the technology has advanced, and we have gone from 1.5 Gbit Internet connection to an enormous 200 Gbit.
In 2010 the theme was "Submerged", but nevertheless space was a highly relevant topic. Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard from the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo gave a lecture about the biggest bang in the Universe, enourmous distances and black holes. You can see the lecture on our web page (Norwegian only).
It is clear that the Universe have given a lot of inspiration to The Gathering. Also this years theme: "At the end of the Universe" will give one associations about enormous distances, both in time and space.
We are looking forward to The Gathering 2012.
Other trivia & Interesting facts: Today it is exactly 47 years since the spacecraft Ranger 9 reached the Moon. The only objective of Ranger 9 was to provice high quality photos and live television broadcasts from this journey before it crashed into the Moon.
Watch a video with Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard: http://tv.gathering.org/page/10
Read more about New Horizons: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
Read more about TG06: https://archive.gathering.org/tg06/
Read more about the plutiod: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto
Read more about the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_(film)
Read more about "Rescue on Fractalus!" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_On_Fractalus