NASA shared a stunning image on Instagram on Saturday taken by its New Horizons spacecraft, showing Pluto’s true colors. The photo, taken at a distance of 22,025 miles (35,445 km) from Pluto, also shows its ‘heart’, a gigantic glacier made of nitrogen and methane. Pluto’s surface is covered in ice made of water, methane and nitrogen and is believed to have a rocky core and possibly a deep ocean.
NASA explained that Pluto’s surface was cracked and cratered, colored white, tan, and reddish-brown. While the white and tan descend at the top of the photo to meet the reddish-brown surface, the partially visible “heart” can be seen in white.
The space agency shared the image of Pluto and captioned it, “Small planetary body on Saturday? Taken by our New Horizons spacecraft at a distance of 22,025 miles (35,445 km), this image shows Pluto’s true colors, including the sun.” heart” of the dwarf planet: a glacier the size of Texas and Oklahoma made of nitrogen and methane.”
See the image here:
Orbiting at a distance of 3.7 billion miles (5.9 billion km), New Horizons is the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and is expected to explore the Kuiper Belt, a region believed to be littered with small objects left over from the creation of our solar system, NASA said.
Pluto was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system, however it was demoted in 2006 and reclassified as a dwarf planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded Pluto’s status to dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-size planet. A “dwarf planet,” as defined by the IAU, is a celestial body in direct orbit of the Sun that is massive enough that its shape is controlled by gravitational forces rather than mechanical forces, but has not cleared its neighboring region. of other objects.
Pluto is just over 1,400 miles away (2,250 km) across, about half the width of the United States or 2/3 the width of the Moon. With an average temperature of -387F (-232C), Pluto’s surface is covered in ice made of water, methane, and nitrogen and is thought to have a rocky core and possibly a deep ocean.
Another distinctive feature on Pluto’s surface is a large, heart-shaped region known unofficially as Tombaugh Regio, according to Space.Com. The left side of the region (an area that takes the shape of an ice cream cone) is covered in carbon monoxide ice. Other variations in the composition of surface materials have been identified within the “heart” of Pluto.
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