NASA writes up summary of discoveries to date from its New Horizons mission to Pluto
NASA has penned down a summary of discoveries done by the space agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto so far. They have written it four months after the craft sailed past the icy dwarf planet.
The discoveries included news of a young outcropping of mountains, rising up to 11,000 feet above the surface and may be active even today. The formation of mountains has taken place no longer than 100 million years back, which is almost negligible when the age of our solar system is taken into consideration.
The rest of the surface of Pluto lacks much in the way of craters, which is an indicator of its relative youth, and includes mainly nitrogen glaciers that ebb and flow over time.
In a statement, Jeff Moore of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said that this was among the youngest surfaces they have ever seen in the solar system.
Meanwhile, latest views of largest moon of Pluto, Charon have shown a near-craterless surface also, with proof of crust fracturing all because of the cliffs, spanning 600 miles on the surface. The north pole has darker markings that may indicate some type of mineral deposits.
The icy dwarf planet ranges from 2.7 to 4.5 billion miles far from the Sun. Pluto’s strangely eccentric orbit brings it nearer than Neptune every 250 years or so for nearly 20 years at a time. The orbit of Pluto, unlike the 8 planets, is also inclined relative to the ecliptic, by a rather remarkable 17 degrees.
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