Scientists found something unexpected on Pluto
Scientists found something unexpected on Pluto. New Horizons, a spacecraft that flew by Pluto in July 2015, continues to stream photos back to Earth from billions of miles away — and each set is more incredible than the last.
The following images, released Thursday by NASA, made our skin crawl.
Fifteen minutes after New Horizons made its closest approach to the icy dwarf planet, it turned around to take this panorama. The photo spans 780 miles across and captures Pluto’s rugged, icy landscape as the sun begins to set.
“This image really makes you feel you are there, at Pluto, surveying the landscape for yourself,” Alan Stern, lead scientist of the New Horizons mission at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a NASA press release. “But this image is also a scientific bonanza, revealing new details about Pluto’s atmosphere, mountains, glaciers, and plains.”
In a close-up of the image, below, dozens of layers of haze hover about 60 miles above the surface. These nitrogen-infused layers hint that Pluto’s weather changes on a day-to-day basis and in a similar fashion to Earth’s, Will Grundy, a New Horizons scientist at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, said in the release.
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