The dwarf planet has entered the world of all-time popularity over the last two weeks, as New Horizons has embarked on a mission to analyze Pluto’s surface and discover its inner workings. It seems that Pluto hosts haze and floating ice, according to the latest reports coming from space experts.
10 days after the closest approach to the celestial body, scientists have discovered a living world of wonders. “With flowing ices, exotic surface chemistry, mountain ranges and vast haze, Pluto is showing a diversity of planetary geology that is truly thrilling”, the observers noted.
New Horizons aimed its Long Range Reconaissance Imager back at Pluto. The device managed to capture sunlight streaming through the atmosphere and showed images of haze as high as 130 Km above the surface of the planet while close-up pictures of the ground show off flows of nitrogen ice, according to a new report released two days ago by scientists.
The 14 July flyby revealed the extremely well defined topography across the heartshaped, southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio.
A recent analysis of the images reveals two different layers of haze. The first one has been spotted at about 80 km above the surface and the other was captured at an altitude of about 50 km.
Now the complex hydrocarbon compounds that spread in reddish-blue shades across the dwarf planet’s surface can be explained, as the hazes detected by New Horizons are a key element in structuring the particular features that can be observed across the surface of Pluto. As the planet’s hydrocarbons fall into the colder parts of the atmosphere, they condense into ice particles that create the haze structures.
Along with haze, the New Horizons’ trip to Pluto showed evidence of amazing ices flowing across the surface which outline traces of recent geologic activity. The new batch of images displays most fascinating details within the small sized Sputnik Planum, the Texas sized Pluto plain. A thick sheet of ice appears to have flowed and it is still flowing exactly as glaciers flow on Earth.
New Horizons is the very first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its crowd of moons. So far, it has managed to return no more than 5% of the pictures and science data gathered over the last two weeks. We know that Pluto hosts haze and floating ice but there are more pieces of news coming right up, hopefully with more fascinating insights which can offer us stronger knowledge about the mysterious structure of the dwarf planet.
Image Source: theguardian.com