I’m so happy that humanity has visited Pluto within my lifetime. I mean, just look at it!
I thought that caramel ice cream would be an appropriate celebration of getting to this butterscotchy-looking little world. Honestly, it’s a fascinating little place. There only look to be a handful of obvious craters on it. That means the material on the surface must be fairly new. The press conference I just watched, while obviously preliminary, threw some fascinating ideas around. For instance, the fact that there may be some time of tectonic activity on Pluto, past or present. The fact that it appears to snow on Pluto. The fact that at present there seem to be no signs of clouds or hazes (despite the fact that I’m pretty sure these things have been detected in the past).
It’ll still be another 5 or 6 hours till transmissions span the 7.5 billion km from Pluto back to Earth. Once we receive the data (which will take quite some time), then we should start to see some very exciting things. Especially, as New Horizons is planned to pass through the shadows of both Pluto and Charon. When it does, then we’ll see for certain if there’s any kind of atmospheric haze there.
This year is full of dwarf planets and excitement!