Pluto Moon Charon Is Not A Wasteland: New Images From “New Horizons”

The Spacecraft “New Horizons” has so far already surprised people as much as it surprised scientists during NASA. It has been sending us detailed and razor-sharp bidlers of an alien world at the far edge of our solar system since July. The goal of “New Horizons” was the Dwarf planet Pluto and its icy companion: the moon Charon.

“New Horizons” Was On The Road For A Long Time

The starting signal for the mission of “New Horizons” was given in January 2006 and it took about 9 years until the probe arrived at Pluto. It covered about 5 billion kilometers at 25,000 kilometers per hour. When “New Horizons” was launched, Pluto was still a planet – in the meantime, it has been downgraded to a dwarf planet. Nevertheless, the journey to Pluto is immensely important for space travel, as it is one of the most distant objects in our solar system. And it’s not just Pluto that has made the probe’s journey worthwhile: “New Horizons” took pictures of Jupiter, an image of an erupting volcano on Jupiter’s moon Io, and photographed not only Pluto but also its largest moon Charon before continuing into deep space out of our solar system.

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Not The Expected Wasteland: Startling Images Of Charon

Even with Pluto, everyone was amazed at its color and shape. Although the dwarf planet, like its moon Charon, is extremely far from Earth, where it experiences freezing temperatures of less than minus 200 degrees, Pluto and Charon are not just frozen blocks of ice. In the latest images, Charon shows itself littered with craters on one side and a 9-kilometer-deep canyon system on the other. The entire crust of Charon has cracked open, NASA scientists said. Probably millions of years ago there was a subterranean ocean on Charon, which froze and expanded – causing Charon’s crust to burst open.

Explanation Of The Difficult Words:

A Spacecraft is an unmanned spacecraft that has to travel very long distances in space, where it usually takes pictures and measurements that are then radioed back to Earth.

NASA is the American space agency. In Europe, this authority is called ESA, where there are also German astronauts.

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Besides our star (the sun) and the planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus) there are also smaller objects in our solar system like asteroids and dwarf planets. Pluto is such a Dwarf planet – it is too small to be considered a planet, so it is called a dwarf planet.

Photo: jaroslavav/

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