Pluto Imagery Starting To Arrive

Pluto is a long way away, more than 4 light hours.

In July the NASA New Horizons spacecraft screamed by Pluto and moons, recording images as fast as possible. Since that time, the spacecraft has been transmitting the data back to Earth. At abut 2000 bits per second or less, It will take a year to download everything.

This month the first images from the closest encounter are arriving, and NASA has released some of the first ones.

 

Meanwhile, science results are emerging in articles and talks this fall. One analysis byt Alexander Trowbridge and coleagues suggests a liquid ammonia below the frozen surface. [1] This is consistent with suggestions that some of the visible features resemble volcanoes.

As many people are commenting, these findings from Pluto are part of the overall picture of a geologically active (if alien) solar system.


 

  1. Trowbridge, A. J., H. J. Melosh, and A. M. Freed, Vigorous Convection Underlies Pluto\rsquos Surface Activity, in AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts. 2015. p. #102.01.

 

Space Saturday

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