It's Official: Pluto Is Even Weirder Than We Thought
The dwarf planet’s mountains, glaciers, and atmosphere can’t be fully explained, says the first scientific paper from New Horizons probe researchers.
Back in the early 2000s, planetary scientist Alan Stern was challenged to predict what the New Horizons probe would find when it got to Pluto. Stern refused to take the bait. “Something wonderful,” is all he would say.
Sure enough, that’s what the spacecraft found when it sped by the dwarf planet last July at more than 30,000 m.p.h.—a tortured, highly varied landscape that pointed to a living, geologically active world rather than an inert blob hovering at the frozen edge of the solar system.
Even now, three months after New Horizons’ close encounter, scientists are just beginning to get a handle on what’s going on with Pluto and it’s large, equally intriguing moon Charon. But what they know