What color is Pluto? NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is closing in on it, and new images are revealing something completely different.
According to NASA, New Horizons' principal investigator, Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, says scientists have known about Pluto's reddish hues for decades, but because images have never been taken from this close, they didn't know for sure. But thanks to the maps developed from New Horizons' data, recorded from roughly 7.8 million miles away between July 1 and July 3, researchers are now able to see the real detail of its coloring and texture.
As it turns out, the sneaky thing is red. Or, at least, reddish brown, similar to Mars. But while the coloring on Mars is from iron oxide, Pluto likely has a different agent. According to NASA, the reddish color is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto's atmosphere and on its surface."
#nasa #space #pluto #NewHorizons