New Horizons travelled more than three billion miles over a period of nine years to reach the Pluto system.
e2v, which has supplied technology for more than 150 space projects, including the Hubble telescope, provided two specialist imaging sensors for the Pluto mission. It will likely make its last transmission in October or November of next year, officials said.
NASA tweeted the image taken by New Horizons during the historic flyby of the dwarf planet. A tweet by the mission, that Stern retweeted, says the spacecraft has a new bumper sticker that reads “my other vehicle explored Pluto“.
This video from NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System app shows you exactly how the flyby took place, sped up to a rate of 10 minutes per second.
“A landmark feat in space exploration as Nasa’s aptly named spaceship sends back data & photos of Pluto from nearly 5 billion kilometres away”, he tweeted.
The team believe that the mountainous region on Pluto was not formed due to heat caused by gravitational interactions with larger planetary bodies as in the case of icy moons of massive-sized planets.
People around the world are interested now, more than ever, about the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon, Charon.
This same image shows mountains at the edge of the heart-like region that are up to 11,000ft (3,300m) high and which team members compared to North America’s Rocky Mountains. Instead, New Horizons found troughs, cliffs and giant canyons – all evidence of internal processes.
The discovery of this young mountain range on Pluto hints that, although it may not seem like it, this orb at the farther end of our Solar System might be geologically active.
Although methane and nitrogen ice covers much of the planet’s surface, these materials are not strong enough to build the mountains. It was obtained by the Ralph instrument on Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft.
“We think that the dark coloring could perhaps be a thin veneer”, Olkin said, as evidenced by bright-white impact craters. But most surprising to scientists was the fact that Pluto exhibits geologic activity that isn’t explained under the previous theories scientists held, not just about Pluto but about how other planets might work.
John M. Grunsfeld, Nasa Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, speaks at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on Tuesday in Laurel, Maryland.