Scientists have recently compiled a list of all you need to know about Pluto. With the New Horizons mission that has landed on the planet in July, we have also received information about the most distant place reached by humans in history.
Researchers have found out about Pluto’s age estimates and the small atmosphere it has. The information was made public at the American Astronomical Society meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, MD.
Scientists are trying to calculate the age of the dwarf planet by counting the craters on its surface in order to see the changes it suffered in time. During this study it was also discovered that Pluto’s four mini moons seem to be rotating around it in a chaotic way.
The western part of the planet’s center, named Sputnik Planum, presents no craters, which points toward geologic processes which made this surface smooth. The intriguing part is that geological activities such as this one require a source of heat, usually missing in small structures as Pluto.
Pluto has many landscape differences between its regions, such as mountains and icy plains. This has been highlighted by creating an image with false colors. Even though principal component analysis was used for research, many people took the picture for granted, describing it as psychedelic. The small planet also has a very complex atmosphere.
The mountains seem to be relatively new, at about 100 million years old. This might be considered by some a very long period of time, but take into consideration the age of our solar system (4.57 billion years old). Jeff Moore who is part of the GGI team New Horizons at the Ames Research Center of NASA in Moffett Field, CA, stated that the dwarf planet is part of the youngest surfaces discovered in our solar system.
Furthermore, Pluto presents a series of icy volcanoes reaching the height of 11,000 feet. Whether they are active or not is unknown.
Alan Stern from the Institute of Research Southwest in Colorado declared that the findings of New Horizons are incredible, as it was almost impossible to believe that small planets such as Pluto are massively active after such a long time since they were created.
The list about all you need to know about Pluto will surely grow longer, as we discover more and more about the mysteries of space.
Image Source: www.wikipedia.org