Friday, July 03, 2015

Pluto - a big surprise (and more to come today)

We expected Pluto to be a ball of frozen rock.  It is, but it's an interesting-looking ball of frozen rock.  The New Horizons spacecraft is giving us our first closeups of the planet (and yes, I will refer to it as a planet, now and forever), It's moon Charon has still-unexplained light-colored patches, and Pluto, which we knew was generally brownish-reddish because the frozen rock is covered in goop called tholins raining from the methane atmosphere, has spotty markings that are oddly regular.  Cue the UFO buffs and the "giant alien bases" claims...

Update: New Horizons has lost contact and gone into "safe mode."  This happens with deep space probes, and many recover, but there's not too much time if we're going to get a closer flyby out of this voyage.)

The faces of Pluto (NASA)
UPDATE: "We're here!"  It's flyby day!  Go, NASA!

Details, answers, and more questions for a planet that appears more complex the closer we get.

1 comment:

Calyxto Uy said...
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