Pluto-surface-images

Pluto has been a remarkably humble planet since the time it was discovered. After being discovered and named Planet X in the year 1909, it was only named a planet in 1930 when there were photographs taken of a possibly moving object beyond Neptune.

Since then we have had immense upgradation in technology. So much that as of a week from now i.e. on July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft would be at a distance of approximately 8,000 miles from Pluto. The journey had been a long 9 years and 3 billion miles. You can check the New Horizons spacecraft’s Real Time Information on Live Comet Data.

Pluto’s images from New Horizons reveal that the colour of the planet is reddish brown. It was imagined mostly as grey or white-blue due to its icy surface. It may as well be called another red planet. But, there is a major difference between the occurrence of the colour in both these planets. Mars is red due to the presence of iron oxide in its soil, whereas Pluto gets the red colour by the hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when the cosmic rays and solar UV rays interact with Methane present in its atmosphere.

Scientists kind of already knew that Pluto has a hue of red, but the maps and images provided by New Horizons consolidate the fact. The measurements from the Alice instrument inside the spacecraft have revealed that the diffused ultraviolet light that is required for the formation of hydrocarbons not only comes from our Sun, but also from other directions of interplanetary space.

This is considered as a huge explanation behind the Red colour of Pluto even though it didn’t get that much ultraviolet radiations from the Sun.

As the New Horizons would come closer to the planet, scientists are hoping to gather more information and new discoveries.

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Source: NASA

Also read: NASA Is Building First Aircraft To Fly On Mars