Pluto’s Kind Heart

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Via WIRED (Article) Direct Link to Picture

 

Pluto has been a topic of fascination for astronomers for a long time now. With the recent flyby of the New Horizons Spacecraft, a new image of Pluto has captivated the world. Pluto has a heart. Well not actually a heart but a region that looks like a heart! I guess Pluto is really trying to send its love to us so we can let it be a planet once again. I mean come on, why do we need to be demoting Pluto to dwarf-planet status? What has it done to us to deserve this demotion especially with the love it’s trying to show us!

On a more serious note, “Pluto’s Heart” is a region called the Tombaugh Regio. Alan Stern, who is the New Horizons Principal Investigator, believes that part of this region know as Sputnik Planum was created from a massive impact with an asteroid 10 kilometers across. To put that in perspective, that’s an asteroid the size of Manhattan smashing into the earth. Moreover, they have found evidence of glacial flows around the edges of this basin, which may provide evidence that Pluto, which was thought to have no internal heat, may have geological activity and thus possibly internal heat! A lot of questions are still to be answered but this evidence is some of the first that shows there is more to Pluto than what meets the eye.

More information can be found here:

 

 

2 thoughts on “Pluto’s Kind Heart

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful post and humor! How can we turn away such a loving planet? This was a memorable post that I will not forget. I have always had an idea of pluto as a blue snowball, extremely cold and uninteresting. It seems that Pluto is clearly complex with its basins and the potential for it to still be geologically active. I wonder how this is possible if it is so small and so far away from the Sun? Moreover, it is clear that impact can have significant consequences for planets, especially on such a small planet. I look forward to reading more!

    Like

    1. For real, it is very exciting to discover evidence of more geological activity on Pluto than we previously thought. I do wonder too how these processes occur despite Pluto being so far away and small.

      Also, now that we can view Pluto’s surface features we sure have a lot of things to name! I didn’t know we already labeled the heart region.

      Like

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