The Pluto flyby was arguably one of 2015’s top scientific achievements, maybe even one of the most memorable moments in the last decade. We now know what our ex-ninth planet looks like, and it’s spectacular. Pluto turned out to have some surprising features like glaciers, nitrogen lakes, ice volcanoes, and the list is growing. The New Horizons mission to Pluto has surpassed everyone’s expectations, and the good news is, the team has no plans of stopping yet. This summer, they’re hoping to win an extended mission to explore another strange new world.
New Horizons has been sending back some incredible information about Pluto, but the Dwarf planet isn’t the only thing it’s been studying. NASA recently noted that the spacecraft’s vantage point is ideal for studying Solar Wind, and it’s been doing just that.
Researchers are now pretty certain there’s a ninth planet in the solar system.
New Horizons returned some amazingly detailed shots and data of Pluto over the course of its mission—but just what did it have to fly through to get there? So, so much.
For such a small world, Pluto has an incredible diversity of features, including flowing glaciers, curiously pitted terrains, hazy skies, and multi-colored landscapes. Now scientists from the New Horizons mission have revealed that the distant dwarf planet is even weirder than they thought, with potential ice volcanoes, floating mountains, and misbehaving moons.
A spectacular new image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft shows Pluto in an entirely new light.
The photo, which New Horizons took during its epic July 14 flyby of Pluto, captures a gorgeous sunset view. Towering ice mountains cast long shadows, and more than a dozen layers of the dwarf planet’s wispy atmosphere are clearly visible.
When I was growing up, there were nine planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. By 1989, all of those planets had been explored … except Pluto. Though it’s no longer classified as a planet by some folks, Pluto is one of the largest worlds in the outer solar system, and it remained a mystery until this week.