Why NASA should visit Pluto again

In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh, A 25-year-old amateur astronomer, found a small, dim object in the night sky.

He has been Lowell Observatory In Flagstaff, Arizona, for about a year, he used the blink comparator (a special microscope that can examine and compare images) to glimpse what was once considered the ninth planet in our solar system: Pluto.

In all respects, Pluto is-um-weird. Once upon a time, astronomers thought it might be bigger than Mars (it is not the case).As we all know, its unusual 248-year orbit The path through Neptune. Today, Pluto is considered the largest celestial body in the Kuiper Belt-but it is no longer considered a planet.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union Voting to downgrade Pluto, defining a planet as a celestial body orbiting the sun, shaped as a circle, and “clearing its neighbors around its orbit”-which means that it has become a gravitational dominance, so there is no celestial body in its orbit Its own satellite. Since Pluto did not check the third box, it is considered a dwarf planet.

A new concept mission now submitted to NASA aims to carefully study Pluto and its nearby systems. Persephone plans to propose at the end of 2020 to explore whether Pluto has oceans and how the planet’s surface and atmosphere have evolved.

Persephone will send a spacecraft equipped with high-resolution cameras to orbit Pluto for three years and map the surface of Pluto and its largest satellite, Charon.

The proposed Persephone spacecraft will include five radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) and several high-resolution cameras.Offered by Carly Howett

But why is Pluto worth a visit?

In the same year Pluto was pushed off its planetary base, NASA sent New horizons Pluto and the Kuiper Belt mission to better understand the outer edge of our solar system.

After reaching Pluto in 2015, New Horizons discovered a treasure of science.Close-up of Pluto reveals potentially active mountains, flowing ice, and surprising records The geological history of the surface.

Carly HowettThe planetary physicist and Persephone’s lead researcher said that New Horizons showed us how complicated this part of space is.

“It’s not that New Horizons has fundamentally new technology, but that it gives people an insight into what the Pluto system might look like,” Howett said. “The world saw Pluto for the first time.”

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