NASA shares more Pluto images from New Horizons
by Brooks Hays
Boulder, Colo. (UPI) Sep 11, 2018
After a few weeks of silence, the Pluto photo parade is back in action. On Friday, NASA released a new roll of images beamed back by the intrepid probe, New Horizons.
The new images include additional close-ups of Pluto's rugged beauty -- the sphere's surface features revealed in new range and detail.
"Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we've seen in the solar system," Alan Stern, a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute and lead scientists on the New Horizons project, said in a press release. "If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top -- but that's what is actually there."
Among the stunning images are a variety of landforms: rugged mountains, shadowed valleys, expansive plains, snaking ice flows, cragged craters and much more.
"The surface of Pluto is every bit as complex as that of Mars," said Jeff Moore, a lead scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center whose team is in charge of processing the images of Pluto's geography.
"The randomly jumbled mountains might be huge blocks of hard water ice floating within a vast, denser, softer deposit of frozen nitrogen within the region informally named Sputnik Planum," Moore added.
Except during the initial flyby (when it was capturing all the great imagery), New Horizons never actually went silent. Ever since it first flew by the distant dwarf planet, New Horizons has been beaming back images and scientific data. But the onslaught of data, arriving in a steady stream, was too overwhelming for scientists to process and release at a constant pace.
Collective gravity, not Planet Nine, may explain the orbits of 'detached objects'
Boulder CO (SPX) Jun 05, 2018
Bumper car-like interactions at the edges of our solar system - and not a mysterious ninth planet - may explain the dynamics of strange bodies called "detached objects," according to a new study. CU Boulder Assistant Professor Ann-Marie Madigan and a team of researchers have offered up a new theory for the existence of planetary oddities like Sedna. This minor planet orbits Earth's sun at a distance of 8 billion miles but appears separated from the rest of the solar system. One theory for it ... read more
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