Pluto Update

PlutoEnhanced_NewHorizons_960

Pluto in Enhanced Color
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Inst.

Explanation: Pluto is more colorful than we can see. Color data and images of our Solar System’s most famous dwarf planet, taken by the robotic New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in July, have been digitally combined to give an enhanced view of this ancient world sporting an unexpectedly young surface. The featured enhanced color image is not only esthetically prettybut scientifically useful, making surface regions of differing chemical composition visually distinct. For example, the light-colored heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio on the lower right is clearly shown here to be divisible into two regions that are geologically different, with the leftmost lobe Sputnik Planum also appearing unusually smooth. New Horizons now continues on beyond Pluto, will continue to beam back more images and data, and will soon be directed to change course so that it can fly past asteroid 2014 MU69 in 2019 January.

On Thursday, September 10 2015, NASA released a batch of newly downlinked hi-res Pluto images:

Spherical-Mosaic-9-10-15

They’re all here.

And, why am I only seeing this now? Stephen Colbert vs Neil deGrasse Tyson on the merits, wonders, and status of the NINTH PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, dammit. Which places me firmly in the camp of the sentimental vs the scientific but however you cut it this clip is wicked fucking funny.

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