[The Epoch Times, November 29, 2022](Reported by Epoch Times reporter Chen Juncun) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared a photo of Pluto on social media. The image shows the dwarf planet in its truest colors, the agency said.
NASA shared this photo of Pluto on Instagram in 2015, taken by the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft. This photo shows Pluto in its most correct natural colors.
New Horizons is the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moons, and is also expected to explore the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper Belt is similar to the asteroid belt and is believed to contain many small objects left over from the formation of the solar system.
The agency noted that New Horizons captured the image at a distance of 35,445 kilometers from Pluto. It includes Pluto’s “heart,” a glaciers of nitrogen and methane the size of Texas and Oklahoma.
Pluto’s surface is pitted and cracked, and its surface is white, tan, and reddish-brown in color. In this photo, the whites and tans extend from above until they touch the reddish-brown surface. Part of the visible “heart” is white.
NASA also released a false-color map of Pluto in 2015. This image was created using a method called “Principal component analysis” to highlight subtle color differences between different regions of Pluto.
Pluto is only about 2,250 kilometers wide, roughly half the distance between the east and west coasts of the United States, or two-thirds the width of the Moon. It has an average temperature of -387 degrees Fahrenheit (-232 degrees Celsius), is covered in ice made of water, nitrogen and methane, and may have a rocky core and a deep ocean.
Scientists discovered Pluto in 1930. It was originally considered the ninth planet in the solar system, but was downgraded to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.
NASA extended New Horizons’ mission in 2019, allowing it to remain in service until 2025.
Editor in charge: Li Ming