Beacon Transcript – The New Horizons has finished sending its last bit of data gathered from the dwarf planet flyby as scientist continue the study of Pluto.
The New Horizons reached and passed by Pluto some fifteen months ago. As the former Solar System official planet has been captivating scientists for the past year with the data captured by the probe, its last bits of information have finally been sent.
As the mission had a sole chance of capturing data and photos of the dwarf planet, it gathered as much as it could and then proceeded to sent the best images back to Earth.
As the distance between the New Horizons and our planet stretches to up to almost three billion miles, and the ten years old missions has little energy left to spare in its current quest, the transmission has been quite slow.
Initiated in September 2015, the data transferred speed would not allow a bigger than one to four kilobits to be transferred per second, but the mission’s team is more than pleased with the results.
As the database has finally been received, they are confident that the knowledge about the dwarf planet will only continue to increase as the analysis and study of Pluto has caused wonder ever since the first images were received.
The information revealed by the mission contradicted mostly everything that scientists thought they knew about the planet.
For one, it revealed the possibility of finding liquids on or under the surface of the planet. This included Pluto in the liquid-friendly conditions category which previously included Mars, Earth, and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
The New Horizons also revealed Pluto as having a blue-colored atmosphere with a much lower atmospheric rate, which would further increase the possibility of standing liquids.
Most of the gathered data is based on the five moons which serve as Pluto’s satellites. As each individual moon came with its own set of properties and distinctive features, they do seem to have a common element.
An analysis of the craters that could be found on the surfaces of all the respective space bodies confirms their being the same approximate age.
This would seem to further strengthen the theory which believes that the moons were formed after Pluto collided or was hit by another large Kuiper Belt space object.
After a final test that will verify the sent data will be performed, the mission’s team will erase New Horizons’ Pluto data as they will free the space for the mission future explorations through the little known Kuiper Belt area.
As the final mission data has been received, scientists predict that the study of Pluto will continue for many more years to come as the dwarf planet continues to reveal itself.
Image Source: Wikimedia