Tag Archives: Nasa

Dwarf Planet, Big Flaming Ice Heart!

PLuto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological  feature

(Pluto photographied by LORRI and Ralph instruments on the New Horizons, spacecraft)

Pluto is technically a  dwarf planet since 2006, but it changes nothing to the sense of wonder. Pluto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological feature!

Colors are boosted since only a small fraction of our sunlight reaches the Pluto system. The dwarf planet has known activity periods, and this 2000 km wide flaming heart maybe composed of nitrogen ice.

New satellites (Hydra, Nix since 2004,  Kerberos and Styx) added themselves to the larger Charon).

The sense of wonder of those pictures should not make us forget the long years of preparation by NASA astronomers and other teams, the nine-year voyage of the New Horizons craft, travelling more than 5 billions km in spirals to take advantage of the Jupiter sling-shot effect to boost acceleration.

Science, unlike movies where everything goes fast (problem detection,  hypothesis, analysis, solution finding), needs time. Reality is years of painstaking preparation for a few second of scintillating results.  Followed by more months and years of analysis, that may help us to learn more about the solar system origins. The freshly transmitted pictures show impressive mountains and canyons…

Advertisements