NASA’s planetary scientists boost claims of supporters of Pluto’s readmission as a full-blown planet in our solar system. Data revealed Pluto to be geologically active, creating new features on the surface by glacier plains of nitrogen ice. “With flowing ices, exotic surface chemistry, mountain ranges, and vast haze, Pluto is showing a diversity of planetary geology that is truly thrilling,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate.
It was claimed recently that Pluto’s geological conditions and atmosphere do not support it’s existence as a full-blown planet, but NASA’s scientists disproved those claims.
According to officials, the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager captured streams of sunlight at Pluto, with two distinct layers of haze present too, as found in the image’s analysis.
Extending over a 100 miles from the surface, the New Horizons data has revealed a lot about the planet’s atmosphere and history.
“The hazes detected in this image are a key element in creating the complex hydrocarbon compounds that give Pluto’s surface its reddish hue,” said Michael Summers, New Horizons co-investigator at George Mason University in Virginia.
The breakdown of methane through ultraviolet sunlight, triggers the buildup of more complex hydrocarbon gases, such as ethylene and acetylene in the atmosphere.
Pluto’s surface has disproven the calculations of scientists previously, which stated temperatures being too warm for hazes to form at altitudes higher than 30 kilo meters.
The LORRI images also showed evidence of recent geological activity, as exotic ices flow across Pluto’s surface.
“It’s very hard not to call an object with this level of complexity in its geology, and such complex seasons, a planet,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute, during a press conference about the Pluto probe’s latest update.
Even though NASA will look further into Pluto’s atmosphere and existence as a full-blown planet, it is safe to say that we have our not-so-tiny, bigger and better Pluto, back in our solar system.