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:
- New Scientist – Pluto may have tipped over when Charon tugged at its heart
- Gizmodo – Pluto’s Heavy Heart Made the Whole Planet Tip Over
- Gizmodo – We Finally Think We Know What Caused Pluto’s Weird, Bumpy Plains
- Wired – New Horizons’ Sharpest Photos of Pluto, Now in Color