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NASA Scientists Cross their Fingers As New Horizons Probe Approaches Pluto

The New Horizons probe of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has beamed back fresh pictures of the dwarf Pluto which appear to confirm the mystery of this micro planet having polar ice caps similar to that of our planet.

NASA New Horizons Pluto probe beams back historic shots of the mysterious frozen dwarf planet Photo Credit: Google Images

NASA New Horizons Pluto probe beams back historic shots of the mysterious frozen dwarf planet
Photo Credit: Google Images

 

Pluto is so distant that previous pictures of it show little more than a tiny dot.

But since the probe is getting closer and closer everyday by covering a long 750,000 miles every day as it speeds towards a historic encounter with the little understood dwarf planet.

“As New Horizons closes in on Pluto, it’s transforming from a point of light to a planetary object of intense interest,” said NASA’s Director of Planetary Science Jim Green. “We’re in for an exciting ride for the next seven weeks.”

The current picture was taken a month back and the most recent snap which was captured was still at a considerably long distance of 50 million miles.

Its increased level of detail has allowed space scientists to make new discoveries about Pluto.

These new images show us that Pluto’s differing faces are each distinct; likely hinting at what may be very complex surface geology or variations in surface composition from place to place,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado

These images also continue to support the hypothesis that Pluto has a polar cap whose extent varies with longitude; we’ll be able to make a definitive determination of the polar bright region’s iciness when we get compositional spectroscopy of that region in July.”

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