Pluto – Up Close and Personal

Ponder Pluto up close and personal. A 380 kilometer wide portrait, immortalized on July 14, 2015 by New Horizons at a distance of 18,000 kilometers.

Text below taken from earthsky. –

New Horizons snapped the picture looking back at Pluto about 15 minutes after its closest approach on July 14th. Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s rugged, icy mountains tower over a vast frozen plain extending to the horizon. The backlighting highlights more than a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere.

The new pictures provide evidence for a remarkably Earth-like “hydrological” cycle on Pluto – but involving soft and exotic ices, including nitrogen, rather than water ice. There are signs of hazes, evaporation, precipitation, and flowing glaciers similar to the frozen streams on the margins of ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica.

New Pluto images wow scientists

4 thoughts on “Pluto – Up Close and Personal

  1. I find these latest photos even more extraordinary than the first few. To think that another planet has (had) nitrogen rivers, glaciers, cryo-volcanos and rain is so far from what I expected science to find at a distant planet where the sun’s heat is barely noticeable – it is just 40K there vs 300K on earth.

    If you were to land on a planet like that with suitably heated spacesuits you’d stand by the river and probably get quite emotional seeing that active, almost living, landscape. You’d expect to see galoping horses next.

    We have so much to learn still about space and we need to change our preconceptions that the universe is filled with ‘lifeless’ rocks orbiting stars. These rocks are most probably not all lifeless and most certainly they have active geological features that will blow our minds. Pluto has just made that clear.

    Pluto has just given science a big finger: how dare they strip it of its planet status!

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