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Is Pluto’s Atmosphere Collapsing?

posted: 07/28/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Artist impression of Pluto and an orbiting body
DCL

As the New Horizons spacecraft slipped behind Pluto two weeks ago to continue its journey into the abyss, two Deep Space Network dishes sent radio signals hurtling toward the spacecraft. The signals were directed to intersect Pluto's atmosphere; by studying the way that the atmosphere bent the radio waves, astronomers were able to get a better grip on Pluto's atmospheric pressure.

As it turns out, our previous understanding of Pluto's atmospheric pressure was way off-base, and there could be some major changes happening in the dwarf planet's atmosphere at this very moment, NASA explains:

Fare thee well, Plutonian atmosphere, we hardly knew thee!

Related: Pluto Surrounded by a Stunning Halo of Haze

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