New Horizons already is 1 million miles beyond the dwarf planet, and 3 billion miles from Earth.
“This is one of the youngest surfaces we have ever seen in the solar system“, said Jeff Moore from NASA’s Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California.
And because Pluto is not heated by gravitational reactions from larger planets, this mountainous activity must be generated by another power, likely to be one internally within the dwarf planet.
This became apparent after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released pictures of these two heavenly bodies taken by the cameras from its New Horizons spacecraft. According to Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the New Horizons mission is helping scientists to pinpoint exactly where Pluto and Charon are located and how they orbit.
The photo also reveals an astounding lack of craters on Pluto’s surface, despite the presence of comets pummeling about throughout the solar system.
The first close-up image of Pluto’s equatorial region near the base of the heart-shaped feature shows a mountain range with peaks as high as 11,000 feet above the surface of the icy body.
These early images were sent in a compressed state to ensure the highest priority data gets down safely.
Thanks to these findings, aspects like its age, size and climate among other details that might lend us insight into its existence.
As the scientists pored over their new data, the plutonium-powered probe continued to speed ever farther away from Pluto.
“We’ve tended to think of these midsize worlds … as probably candy-coated lumps of ice”, Spencer said. “Their efforts will provide rich insights to enhance our understanding of our solar system“, Modi added.
The United States space agency has revealed an image of Pluto’s largest moon Charon which has a vast dark area on its north pole.
A small amount of the ashes of American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh are on board the New Horizons spacecraft. This indicates that Charon’s crust has numerous fractures which might have been caused due to internal geological processes.
The camera used to take the stunning images of Pluto was made in Essex!
“This is a tremendous moment in human history”, said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s science mission chief.