With passing time, it has been providing clearer pictures and scientists can see Pluto’s black spots and Charon’s dark pole size increase in the spacecraft’s virtual windshield. They appear to be evenly spaced and sized, each about 300 miles in diameter. But nobody knows what the are. “Also puzzling is the longstanding and dramatic difference in the colors and appearance of Pluto compared to its darker and grayer moon Charon”, Stern said in a statement. Everyone is hoping that to change past July 14 which is when the New Horizons spacecraft is set for its closest flyby of the planet. Methane was originally detected on Pluto’s surface by a team of ground-based astronomers led by New Horizons team member Dale Cruikshank, of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California.
One of the last plans the American New Horizons spacecraft will do as bears down on will be to maneuver it.
This discovery is not something you see every day, and I’m sure that if New Horizons didn’t have so much going on right now, it would stop and celebrate.
On July 14 the spacecraft will make its closest approach to the dwarf planet, flying within 7,700 miles of the surface. Once considered our ninth planet, it was reclassified as a dwarf in 2006 just seven months after the launch of New Horizons. In the next few days, Bowman said, the New Horizons team will be uploading the command sequence that will guide the probe through its historic flyby.
New Horizons has been using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to scout ahead for any new moons or rings surrounding Pluto. It was said that the spacecraft plans to adjust its speed very slightly that moved its expected arrival time on the planet.
“In fact, there are regions on the surface that have to be as dark as anything we’ve ever seen in the solar system”.
“It will be as if Pluto were illuminated from behind by a trillion-watt light bulb”, noted Randy Gladstone, a New Horizons scientist from Southwest Research Institute.
“Hal Weaver, a project scientist working on the Horizon mission since 2003 asserted”, We’re at the frontier of exploration of our solar system. Because Pluto is relatively small and so far away from Earth – about 3 billion miles (4.8 billion kilometers), on average – the object remains a blur of pixels even in the best photos by NASA’s powerful Hubble Space Telescope.
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