NASA releases first Pluto flyby images
The first images of dwarf planet Pluto were taken on Wednesday due to New Horizon’s flyby.
A press conference at John Hopkins University’s Applies Physics Laboratory was held in Laurel, Maryland. During this conference new Horizon’s Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader John Spenser announced that they got many high-resolution observations of the planet and were going to focus on its details.
Investigators admire the first closeup photographs of Pluto’s icy surface near the equator. The surface is covered with a range of mountains 11000 feet high. The latest discovery helps to explore Pluto’s geology. New Horizon’s principal investigator Alan Stern affirms, “Steep topography means that the bedrock that made these mountains must be of water ice. We can be really sure that the water is there in great abundance”.
The closest distance from the spacecraft to the Pluto was proximately 478000 miles. A closeup image f Pluto was made an hour and a half before that approach.
Moreover, an image of Pluto’s largest moon Charon was shown. It presents a range of cliffs about 600 miles long across the surface.
Little has been known since 2005 about the shape, size and reflectivity of the Pluto’s outermost moon Hydra. New facts about its shaped body were discovered owing to New Horizon’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).
The spacecraft returned successfully late Tuesday. The distance of about 7750 miles across Pluto’s surface and 3 billion miles from Pluto to the Earthwas passed.
Scientists and astronomers has been interested in Pluto and its moons since 1930, when Pluto was first discovered by Clyde Tombaugh using the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.
NASA proclaims that the spacecraft “New Horizon” is the first one that explores space objects so far away from the Earth.
Pluto and its five moons is a part of the solar system’s Kuiper Belt that includes many other icy objects such as boulders and dwarf planets. Investigation of these space objects is a clue to many questions. One of them is the formation of the solar system.