One Month from Pluto, NASA Probe Sees Dwarf Planet’s Many Faces
The many “faces” of Pluto are visible in new images by NASA’s New Horizon’s probe, which is only one month away from the first-ever close encounter with the dwarf planet.

This week, NASA released what it called “the best views ever obtained of the Pluto…

The many “faces” of Pluto are visible in new images by NASA’s New Horizon’s probe, which is only one month away from the first-ever close encounter with the dwarf planet.


This week, NASA released what it called “the best views ever obtained of the Pluto system” taken by New Horizons, which will make its closest approach of the dwarf planet starting July 14. A video of the Pluto new images reveals the many “faces” of this petite planetary object — that is, the photos show a complete 360 degree panorama of the dwarf planet’s surface. The pictures reveal regions of light and dark, and many shades of gray in between, that hint at the presence of surface features.

“We’re squeezing as much information as we can out of these images, and seeing details we’ve never seen before,” said New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, in a statement from NASA. “We’ve seen evidence of light and dark spots in Hubble Space Telescope images and in previous New Horizons pictures, but these new images indicate an increasingly complex and nuanced surface. Now, we want to start to learn more about what these various surface units might be and what’s causing them. By early July we will have spectroscopic data to help pinpoint that.”

New Horizons has traveled nearly 3 billion miles in just under 10 years to reach Pluto. It is the first probe to ever make a close study of the planet, and it is already returning images of the system that are of higher quality than those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. (However, Hubble has still returned some great science about Pluto. Recently, scientists using Hubble data revealed new information about the very strange motions and colors of Pluto’s five moons).

The new images, taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), seem to show a very lumpy, nonspherical-looking Pluto, but this is the result of the technique used to create the images, called deconvolution, as well as Pluto’s large variations in surface brightness, according to the same statement. In addition, the contrast in the images has been “stretched to bring out additional details.”

The deconvolution technique has been used by the New Horizons team to identify surface markings on Pluto, including a bright area at one pole that scientists think is a polar cap. Deconvolution has been known to create “false details,” or artifacts, in the images, so NASA said the spacecraft team will be carefully reviewing images produced with this technique.

“Even though the latest images were made from more than 30 million miles away, they show an increasingly complex surface with clear evidence of discrete equatorial bright and dark regions—some that may also have variations in brightness,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons’ principal investigator. “We can also see that every face of Pluto is different and that Pluto’s northern hemisphere displays substantial dark terrains, though both Pluto’s darkest and its brightest known terrain units are just south of, or on, its equator. Why this is so is an emerging puzzle.”

As of yesterday (June 11), New Horizons was approximately 2.9 billion miles (4.7 billion kilometers) from Earth and just 24 million miles (39 million kilometers) from Pluto.

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About Earth Changes Media w/ Mitch Battros

Mitch Battros is a scientific journalist who is highly respected in both the scientific and spiritual communities due to his unique ability to bridge the gap between modern science and ancient text. Founded in 1995 – Earth Changes TV was born with Battros as its creator and chief editor for his syndicated television show. In 2003, he switched to a weekly radio show as Earth Changes Media. ECM quickly found its way in becoming a top source for news and discoveries in the scientific fields of astrophysics, space weather, earth science, and ancient text. Seeing the need to venture beyond the Sun-Earth connection, in 2016 Battros advanced his studies which incorporates our galaxy Milky Way - and its seemingly rhythmic cycles directly connected to our Solar System, Sun, and Earth driven by the source of charged particles such as galactic cosmic rays, gamma rays, and solar rays. Now, "Science Of Cycles" is the vehicle which brings the latest cutting-edge discoveries confirming his published Equation.
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