Surprising Discovery of Pluto’s Surface

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( — February 5, 2016) — Referring to data collected by the US space agency NASA, CNN reported that Pluto’s surface is covered with a lot more water ice than scientists originally thought.

The dwarf planet is covered with a large quantity of water ice, which can now be seen on a new NASA map, built on the basis of data taken by the New Horizons spacecraft.

The new map, created using data from the New Horizons historic flyby study, is much more sensitive than the older versions.

The previous map showed only areas with a large amount of ice, but was at a loss to differentiate which parts of the surface were specifically frozen water as it can be masked by frozen methane.

Now scientists use a new method during the collection of data, which involves the merger of two types of infrared images recorded with a special instrument, at a distance of more than 67,000 miles.

This allows the scientists to distinguish between the images of icy surfaces created by nitrogen and methane, and water ice.

The dwarf planet is already known as an Ice Kingdom, with its two possible ice volcanoes, but NASA scientists believe that this new discovery of water on another world is important.

Water is one of the key ingredients to life as we know it and it is just one piece of NASA’s search for a habitable planet.

Pluto is a planet full of surprises. Its icy surface, frozen water and mysterious moons have marveled scientists.

According to the new map, the smallest amounts of frozen water have been found on the Sputnik Planum area on the west side of Pluto.

This indicates that at least in these regions, Pluto’s icy bedrock is well hidden beneath a thick blanket of other ices such as methane, nitrogen and carbon monoxide, NASA officials said in a statement.

After passing Pluto in July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft started a new mission, to a rocky part of space known as the Kuiper Belt, miles away on the other side of the dwarf planet. The piano-sized spacecraft is chasing down a small object known as 2014 MU69.