NASA spacecraft has been the very first spacecraft to have reached a far off dwarf planet i.e. Pluto.
INSIGHT: New Horizons blasted off in year 2006, carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. From a distance of 3.3 million miles, the side of Planet Pluto was captured on 19th of July by a spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).
The probe was programmed to gather a wealth of images and data as it sped past Pluto and its five small moons, Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos.
It shot past at more than 28,000 mph (45,000 km/h) on a route that brought the fastest spacecraft ever to leave Earth’s orbit within 7,770 miles of Pluto’s surface. Sensors of the spacecraft depicted Pluto’s thin nitrogen atmosphere extending far out into space.Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.
The team of scientists believed it might shed snow, with flakes tumbling down to the surface before vaporizing back into the atmosphere.
UPDATE: The pictures now can be captured more clearly from a closer view.
On considering the black and white image; it’s neither a blurry circle [a blob] nor that highly sharp pixelated as people expected it to be. However, finally enough details laid on the front desk to depict the geology of the dwarf planet.
Planet Pluto side facing its greatest moon namely Charon, is visible where the darker side of the planet has been titled as *Whale’s tail [center of attraction].
(*it’s the tail end of a whale-shaped feature that has led the scientist to look into more patiently for the hardly visible band of congested patterns)
“It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest. These patterns stretch for 1,000 miles across the dwarf planet, with one end located near the whales’ tail.” – The New Horizons’ scientist, Curt Niebur