Humankind is taking one step closer into unveiling the mysteries at the edge of the solar system.
“It’s a real puzzle – we don’t know what the spots are and we can not wait to find out”, said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern. About half of Pluto is imaged, which means features shown near the bottom of the dwarf planet are at approximately at the equatorial line. Each spot is circular at about 480 kilometers in diameter.
The presence of the dark spots intrigues the New Horizons science team, because of the consistency in their spacing and size.
There are about three billion miles of distance between Earth and Pluto, and it took NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft nine years to navigate this distance – but then, it is nearer home to its destination now than when it just started.
Scientists on-board the short scopes – the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)is that attempts to untie the tips of Pluto’s atmosphere.
Compared to the sullen gray color of Charon, its largest moon, Pluto’s surface has a much lighter tan.
Pluto, the most famous dwarf planet in our solar system, underwent a well-publicized (and somewhat controversial) reclassification that took away its title as the ninth and most distant planet from the Sunday.
Launched as part of the New Frontiers Program, the NASA space probe will explore Pluto in unprecedented detail, providing scientists with invaluable data of its geological activity, morphology and chemical composition.