New Horizons Locates Possible Ice Cap on Pluto

posted: 04/29/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Pluto ice caps

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back the first images a Pluto's surface; they show distinct light and dark regions across the dwarf planet. Astronomers believe that a large light spot on Pluto's north pole could be a massive ice cap.

"As we approach the Pluto system we are starting to see intriguing features such as a bright region near Pluto's visible pole, starting the great scientific adventure to understand this enigmatic celestial object," said NASA's John Grunsfeld in a news release. "As we get closer, the excitement is building in our quest to unravel the mysteries of Pluto using data from New Horizons."

Taken from a distance of 70 million miles, the photos are understandably blurry. NASA utilized deconvolution technology to sharpen the raw photographs as much as possible. New Horizons will provide sharper imagery as it approaches Pluto.

In July, New Horizons will arrive at Pluto and deliver the first ever close-up vantage of dwarf planet and its moons. The historic mission marks the completion of humankind's initial reconnaissance of the classical solar system.

Humankind's foray into space began over fifty years ago. Logging an impressive nine years and 3,000,000,000 miles of travel, New Horizons' mission to Pluto is the farthest mission in the history of space exploration.

Click here for more information from NASA

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