But this is about to change as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to fly by the dwarf planet on its way to the Kuiper Belt on July 14, as per CBS News.
On July 14 the spacecraft will make its closest approach to the dwarf planet, flying within 7,700 miles of the surface.
Scientists have yet to see anything quite like the dark spots.
“We can see very large regional differences in brightness across the planet”, said principal investigator Alan Stern from the Southwest Research Institute.
Of course, scientists hope that this discovery will lead to more information not just about the spots but also what they may be related to as the New Horizons probe continues to get closer.
It has taken the New Horizons spacecraft more than nine years to traverse 3 billion miles of space between the Earth and Pluto.
NASA also released another timelapse of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.
“We already knew there was methane on Pluto, but these are our first detections”, said Will Grundy, the New Horizons Surface Composition team leader with the Lowell Observatory.
The latest true-color images of Pluto and Charon depicting two distinct hemispheres of Pluto and the mysterious “dark patch” on Charon. Among the team, we’ve been impressed at how much they match.
Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 and was christened planet No. 9 in our solar system.
One of the last plans the American New Horizons spacecraft will do as bears down on will be to maneuver it.
But the real Pluto – the cold sphere once considered a planet of our solar system – is still out there, billions of miles away.
The New Horizons spacecraft has made a critical observation in preparation for its upcoming observations of Pluto’s tenuous atmosphere.
The Dwarf planet was captured by Nasa’s New Horizons space probe using two cameras which were able to capture previously unseen colour and resolution.
Consequently, with the New Horizons spacecraft nearing Pluto, the astronomical community hasn’t been as excited as this since August 1989, when we enthusiastically waited for the Voyager 2 spacecraft to give us our first detailed view of Neptune.
Even at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second, a message sent to or from the New Horizons craft takes four and a half hours to arrive.
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