First Mars, Now NASA Announces Water On Pluto


In the past month, it was announced that liquid water was discovered on Mars, and now just a few weeks later it has been announced that traces of frozen water have been discovered on Pluto.

The photo above gives a graphic representation of where water appears on Pluto. Nasa released the following explanation of the graphic:

Regions with exposed water ice are highlighted in blue in this composite image from New Horizons’ Ralph instrument, combining visible imagery from the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) with infrared spectroscopy from the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). The strongest signatures of water ice occur along Virgil Fossa, just west of Elliot crater on the left side of the inset image, and also in Viking Terra near the top of the frame. A major outcrop also occurs in Baré Montes towards the right of the image, along with numerous much smaller outcrops, mostly associated with impact craters and valleys between mountains. The scene is approximately 280 miles (450 kilometers) across. Note that all surface feature names are informal.

“Large expanses of Pluto don’t show exposed water ice, because it’s apparently masked by other, more volatile ices across most of the planet. Understanding why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places, is a challenge that we are digging into,”  researcher Jason Cook explained.

According to researchers with the New Horizons science team, the sky is also blue on Pluto.

“That striking blue tint tells us about the size and composition of the haze particles. A blue sky often results from scattering of sunlight by very small particles. On Earth, those particles are very tiny nitrogen molecules. On Pluto they appear to be larger — but still relatively small — soot-like particles we call tholins,” researcher Carly Howett said.

The discovery was made by the New Horizons spacecraft, which has been studying Pluto for several years.

John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.

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