New Horizons makes history at Pluto

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Congratulations to Alan Stern and the entire New Horizons team for today’s historic flyby success at Pluto!

The color image released this morning is magnificent and will be in a sense the opening salvo of 16 months of data scientists receive and analyze for years to come.

What a terrific day!

Already, it’s clear that the icy terrain is more complex than we might have imagined. The bright “heart” feature contains variegated ices, one area being much smoother than the other. The darker region to the left contains a variety of impact craters. The pole, near the top, appears to be more deeply reddish than other areas.

This is a spectacular day for planetary science that completes the original “grand tour” concept initiated by the Voyagers and offers us a world unlike any others we’ve known before in our solar system.

Let the celebrations — and the interpretation of data — begin!

For complete coverage of the flyby and initial data, visit www.Astronomy.com/year-of-pluto.


Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar

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