Back in the early 2000’s a state-of-the-art probe was launched into space. New Horizon’s was projected has been drafted back in 2001, and it cost NASA approximately 650 million dollars, but the results outweigh the costs. At end of its nine and a half year journey through space, New Horizon takes stunning pictures of Pluto.
The actual distance that the probe had to cover in order to reach the outskirts of the dwarf planet was 4.6 billion miles. Officially, the launch date was on July the 14th 2015, but the project for the space probe was submitted earlier, in December 2000 by Alan Stern and his team of scientists.
After years of floating through space, travelling at a velocity of over 3000 miles per hour, New Horizon reached the outskirts of Pluto just in time to take a couple of mouth-watering photos. In the photograph posted on the official NASA website we ca can the contour of planet Pluto when the Sun’s rays lights the side of the planet.
The images depicting Pluto bears a striking resemblance to Earth from above. The picturesque pictures have been taken from a distance of approximately 12.500 kilometers and the level of detail continues to amaze viewers from all over the world.
What else are we able to discern in these stunning pictures? First, there is the surface of Pluto, basking in both sunray and darkness like the Greek ruler of the underworld. But the most interesting formation that the probe was able to capture is the Sputnik Planum. This is an icy plain on Pluto’s surface, highly segmented and carefully delimitate by trough-like geological formations.
During extensive studies conducted by both probes and high power telescopes, scientists discovered that the troughs contain mountain chains and even dark material.
The plateau is covered on the southwest approach by the Hillary Montes, another sight captured in the photographs taken by New Horizon.
New Horizon takes pictures of Pluto and it also provides valuable souvenirs for scientists. More specifically, the probe has confirmed that the dwarf planet is 2.370 kilometers in diameter.
Some other fun facts about the dwarf planet. Pluto resides in the Kuiper Belt (a ring formed of various objects, which lies beyond Neptune) and like many other planets its surface is made of ice and rock. It takes light about five and a half hours on order to reach Pluto’s surface.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org