What did NASA’s New Horizons discover around Pluto?
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What did NASA’s New Horizons discover around Pluto?


In 2015, there was a huge excitement in the
space community. That is because up until then, the best image
we had of the Pluto system was this. Hubble also squinted its lens at Pluto, but
it is so small and distant, the best it could see was a few blobs of colour variation. But in 2015, this all changed. That is because after a nine year journey,
the New Horizons space probe flew by the dwarf planet, giving us a detail and fidelity of
Pluto and its moons like we had never seen before. So the question is, what did the New Horizons
probe see and discover during its flyby of the Pluto system? I’m Alex McColgan, and you’re watching
Astrum. Stick with me in this video and I will show
you all the highlights from the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Pluto was the last of the traditional 9 planets
to be explored. This was due to its distance from us, but
also because – can you believe this – it wasn’t considered a very interesting celestial
object. Thankfully, the New Horizon’s team pushed
hard for this mission to be approved, and in 2006, New Horizons launched as part of
NASA’s New Frontier’s program, for medium budget space missions. The goal of the mission was to get to Pluto
as soon as possible, and as such, New Horizons was the fastest launch ever, it being a light
spacecraft on the most powerful rocket of the time – the Atlas V. It whizzed past
the moon in only 9 hours. The Apollo missions took 10 times as long. On its way to Pluto, it used Jupiter as a
gravity assist which shaved 3 years off the arrival time. It also used Jupiter as a trial run for its
systems, taking some remarkable videos and images of the planet and its moons. After this successful trial, New Horizons
went into hibernation mode to prevent wear and tear of its instruments. Leading up to its approach in 2015, the team
turned the systems back online, and every day the spacecraft sent back images of the
Pluto system. This was an incredibly exciting time for enthusiasts
following the story. We began to get hints of what Pluto could
possibly look like, and saw how different Pluto was from its biggest moon, Charon. Every day, the resolution got higher and higher,
and more details could be made out. Yes, there were other scientific goals for
the mission, but the most interesting thing to me was what it looked like. Soon there could be seen what looked to be
a heart shape on the dwarf planet! On the 14th July, the New Horizons probe made
its closest approach, at only 12,500 km from the surface of Pluto. However, mission controllers didn’t get
a look straight away. Firstly, the probe was too busy taking a lot
of photos during the flyby to send any back immediately. Once data transfer commenced, they had to
deal with the slow uplink speed of only 1kbit/sec. Further to that, there was a 4.5 hour latency
between the spacecraft and the Earth. But what it saw and sent back was spectacular:
mountain ranges, ice plains, glaciers and an atmosphere. It also had a good look at some of Pluto’s
moons. Let’s go into detail about what it actually
discovered during this flyby. One of the first things observed about the
Pluto is its unusual relationship with its moons. For a start, Pluto’s biggest moon, Charon,
orbits very closely to Pluto, and is also very big in comparison. This means that the barycentre of the two
objects, or in other words, their centre of mass, is outside of the primary object. They actually both orbit around a point in
space. Not only that, but both objects are tidally
locked to each other. This means if you stand on one, the other
won’t move from that point in the sky. This is very unusual because while some moons
are tidally locked to their parent planet, the planet is not also tidally locked to the
moon. Charon is very different visually from Pluto
being much darker. This implies they are not from the same origin. The rest of Pluto’s moons are very small,
only being a few kms across. Their orbits are exceptionally circular and
are all coplanar with Pluto’s orbit. The geology of Pluto is very interesting. The biggest visible feature on Pluto is this
giant heart shape, which wowed the world when it first came into view. It has since been named Sputnik Planitia. It is the size of Texas, and it has a strong
colour contrast to the surrounding area. This is because it is a giant ice plain. In fact, during the flyby, it was confirmed
that 98% of Pluto’s surface is comprised of nitrogen ice. On average, the temperature on the surface
of Pluto is -229c, which means water ice would be rigid and brittle. On the other hand, nitrogen ices at this temperature
act like water ice on Earth, meaning it can flow as glaciers. This can especially be seen around the edge
of the heart, glaciers flowing into the gaps around the craters and mountain ranges. The ice plains themselves have giant polygon
shapes across the entire area. There also are no craters, which means it
must be a relatively new feature, or a feature that is being continually renewed. It is perhaps only 10 million years old. The polygonal cells show ridges on them which
are likely caused by sublimation, the process of an ice turning directly into a gas. Although it’s not known for certain, Sputnik
Planitia could have formed from an impact, and ices filled the crater in from a potential
subsurface liquid ocean. This filled in basin actually causes a positive
gravitational anomaly. A gravitational anomaly is where the gravity
at one point is different from elsewhere on the object. The ice plain is directly facing away from
Charon, which would align it up with the objects’ tidal axis. Due to the short distance between Pluto and
Charon, tidal effects are very strong on both objects. This could be the reason why Pluto is tidally
locked to Charon and the two objects can’t look away from each other. Surrounding the ice plains are vast mountain
ranges made of water ice, which, when viewed from the side on, look spectacular. Water ice is the only type of ice detected
on Pluto that would be strong enough to support heights of several kilometres at this temperature. Among the mountains found on Pluto, there
might also be some which are cryovolcanoes, one of the most likely candidates being Wright
Mons. It is 4 kms tall, one of the highest peaks
on Pluto, and a big depression is found in the centre. Cryovolcanoes could be a contributing factor
for Pluto’s young surface. Another obvious feature of Pluto is the dark
material that seems to be sprinkled on the surface in some areas. The biggest such area is called Cthulhu Macula. It is weirdly reminiscent of a whale in shape,
as can be seen in this image. The dark colour is thought to be a deposit
of tholins, a kind of tar made up of hydrocarbons that have interacted with sunlight. Similar deposits can be seen on one of Saturn’s
moons, Iapetus, so the process has been seen elsewhere in the solar system. The region on Pluto is much more heavily cratered
than the heart, which implies the surface there is much older. Mountain ranges can be seen in the middle
of Cthulhu Macula, topped with what is thought to be methane ices. Methane apparently condenses as frost at higher
altitudes on Pluto. The last surface feature I will mention here
is this region called Tartarus Dorsa. It is an extensive, highly distinctive set
of 500-meter-high mountains that resembles snakeskin or tree bark. They are thought to be Penitentes. If that is true, Pluto is the only place in
our solar system other than Earth where they have been observed. Even on Earth they are very rare, but some
can be found in the Atacama desert and other dry, high altitude regions. The ones on Pluto are much taller and cover
a much vaster area than on Earth. We can only imagine what they look like close
up. For me, the most impressive discovery that
New Horizons was able to confirm was that Pluto has an atmosphere. And not only that, but the images are incredible. Due to Pluto’s small size and weak gravity,
the atmosphere appears to extend high above the surface of Pluto. Earth’s atmosphere, while being much more
massive and dense compared to Pluto, hugs the planets comparatively tightly as the gravity
is a lot stronger. The atmospheric pressure on Pluto is exceptionally
low, however, roughly 10 microbars, or 100,000 – 1,000,000 times weaker than the surface
pressure on Earth. It is theorised that the pressure could increase
to as much as 18 to 280 millibars, three times the surface pressure on Mars and a quarter
of the surface pressure on Earth, if the temperature was to rise and the surface ices would sublime
into gases, the process which we’ve seen in the ice plains. The last time Pluto was thought to have this
atmospheric density was 900,000 years ago. At this pressure and temperature, the conditions
could even be right for liquid nitrogen to form on Pluto’s surface. Some evidence of this might be found here,
in what appears to be a frozen over lake. At any rate, within just one year, Pluto’s
atmospheric density can vary by a factor of four due to seasonal variations. That is a massive contrast compared to other
solar system objects with atmospheres, which generally stay pretty consistent. The atmosphere consists of the same ices found
condensed on the surface, namely nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide. The other fascinating discovery New Horizons
made about the atmosphere is that it has up to 20 haze layers. Haze layers themselves were not unexpected,
but the amount of them was. They can clearly be seen in some of these
images, acting like layers of a thin kind of fog. Sunlight can be seen streaming through one
such layer in this photo, the shadows from the mountains clearly seen in contrast to
the sunlight shining through the haze. The layers do not appear to be level across
the planet. Here you can see this haze layer high above
the surface, but on this side of the image it touches the surface. On a side note, to me these are the most breath-taking
photos of Pluto, and I purposefully saved them until last. You can truly appreciate depth and the scale
of the mountain ranges; Pluto almost seems like a toy replica due to the extreme topographical
relief, but these mountains appear so high because Pluto is so small, and its gravity
is not strong enough to pull them down. This gives for a varied and impressive landscape
and a fitting end to the video. Did you enjoy what you saw today? Watching videos is great, and if you want
to broaden and retain that knowledge, the best way to do so is to actively grapple with
puzzles and problem solving. That’s why for these last two videos, Astrum
has partnered up with brilliant.org, a website which is a great complement to passively watching
educational videos. You are likely here because you want to learn
more about Astronomy, and so Brilliant.org could be exactly what you are looking for
to really challenge your knowledge and help you learn more. Brilliant offers many well curated sequences
of problems that help you master all sorts of technical subjects. You all like Astronomy clearly which they
have a dedicated course for. You might also enjoy their related courses
on “Classical Mechanics” and “Gravitational Physics”. If you go to brilliant.org/Astrum, you can
sign up for free to have a sample of their courses, and by using that link, the first
200 people will get 20% off the annual Brilliant premium subscription. That’s the subscription I’ve been using. Brilliant is a perfect fit for my channel
so do check them out. The data New Horizons sent back to Earth will
continue to be pored over for years to come. New Horizons has a new mission in its sights
though, a flyby of a small Kuiper Belt Object known as 2014 MU69, due to arrive on the 1st
January 2019. If you want to find out about this mission
and also see the dedicated Pluto video I will make in the future, please subscribe so you
don’t miss out. Also check out the other videos I’ve made
about a variety of astronomy topics. Thanks for all your support, and I’ll see
you next time.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “What did NASA’s New Horizons discover around Pluto?

  1. Very informative video, but I do have a question. What was illuminating Pluto when we saw the dark side of the planet when you were showing us the layers, and for that matter the side when we saw the surface detail? I was always told(maybe wrongly so) that Pluto is so far out that our sun would appear as small as any other star we see in our night's sky so I thought that it would be awfully hard to see anything on Pluto, regardless of the side you were on in respect to the sun? Is this camera tricks with low light apertures or light amplifying electronics or computer enhancement? I'm not crying conspiracy, the photos in this video explicitly said they were enhanced, I understand, just wondering how much light they had to add while doing it and how they did it?

  2. What did NASA"s New Horizons discover around Pluto? Nothing , Absolutely Nothing ! Keep The Lie Going Boys, But it is "Coming To An End Soon" !!!!!!!

  3. There were #Chinese spacecraft I don’t believe Americans landed in the moon. Russian put their man and setlght in the #space so #America was planning to deceive the world that they put their scientists in the moon. How America lied and #Americans believed that moon landing was successful and that was the most disgusting and disastrous lie in the #history of #mankind. No matter what Americans never ever can be more advanced than Russians. Because of #Russian other countries like Japan and #America are in the space without the Russian help still America would be in the earth and dreaming to be in the space. Russian are the more advanced than any other countries without a doubt. Thank you #Russia for sharing your wonderful findings with other #countries without you our world wouldn’t be so advanced. #NASA #moonlanding #europe #india #africa #Asia

  4. According to the BBCs very own Brian Cox (yeah i know), the shapes found on the surface of Sputnik Planetia are caused by convection… supposedly the sunlight on Pluto is just strong enough to warm up the nitrogen a little bit, so it rises and falls beneath the surface, creating the same kind of patterns we see on the surface of the sun.

  5. If the Hubble squinted to see Pluto, why are we told that the machine can and has taken photos of light years in length but yet it can't focus on Pluto. Let me guess. It's too close right?

  6. Is there a way to find out who created space; Heaven above and Earth; Sun and moon, the planets, and endless galaxies and life in them? Is there a way to find out the creator? And most importantly, is there a way to live forever

    YES! THERE IS A WAY!
    _
    Salvation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

    John 3:
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but the world through him can be saved.

     For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;; Romans 3:23

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

     Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.. John 14.6

    1 Cor. 15:
    1 In addition, brothers, I declare to you the Gospel that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand;
    2 Thanks to which you are also saved if you keep in memory what I preached to you, if you did not believe in vain.
    3 For first of all, I delivered to you what I received and how Christ died for our sins according to the Holy Scriptures;
    4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    5 And that he was seen by Cephas (Peter)  and then of the 12 (as a group):

     In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians. 1: 7

    Romans 10:
    9 That if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    13 For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Therefore, since we were justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5: 1

  7. we were created by aliens to dig gold so we have no natural affinity with this universe and they gave us the words developed from string theory reasoning on how the universe started since mother nature died and father nature now rules … skeatesy/bubbygoddezz 2019 the son of man returned and the one upon the throne in revelation …
    holy holy holy my great day of almighty has arrived as said by the ancients …

    womans pyramids upstream were taken appart and have disappeared due to the male pyramids theift of the rocks and floated them down stream on the nile …for fill in the pyramids below

    rocks which came from hundreds of miles away were originaly from the womans pyramids up stream not originaly for the male pyramids lower .. the woman got those rocks not the males before mother nature died and male aliens invaded the earth and killed off all the female nienderthals frescos are at catal huyuk turkey of the geniside by drones looking like vultures with propellors in their backs ..neinderthals who are the original higher primates of the earth and of this universe where as males has no origin of this universe he is a hybrid android human and cannot survive with out usesing gold as a economy which ultimately aliens want us to store in fort knox ..genisus of the bible is the genicide of neinderthal woman and their knowledge caled the tree of knowledge or family tree ..

    aliens radiated the earth with nuclear weapons so nothing was in mans path .. krishna's city was destroyed by a missle by shivea in a nuclear war and the silos still exist and the tombs which held the nuclear war heads ..

    soon new york will recieve the same violent fait as the earlier civilizations

    homosapiens come from the heart and have guile no being from this universe has that and use belief as a trusted tool of communication to the fifth dimension where the aliens are and can go back in time as the forth dimension can only go forward ..
    thus i have spake thus i rule as this was all created for me and my time now .. after slain down by sugar i have risen again for those now written in my book of life …

  8. Pluto, you're not a planet. You're dog!
    Sit! Who's a good boy? Who's … what am I doing with my life 😭
    I wuv you pluto – Forever planet #9

  9. I'm dismayed at what kind of person could down vote information like this? If they don't like it, then for what reason? Are they articulate enough to say why they didn't like this information? Does it go against their beliefs?

  10. When I was 5 mercury, Venus, and mars were red, earth was normal, Jupiter was brown and peach and random shiz, Saturn was orangish with a yellow ring, uranus light blue, Neptune dark blue, Pluto white

  11. Why invest anything on Pluto when we know there is no liquid on Pluto, we are wasting time and money, we are running out of time we must find another home

  12. Boycott Tokyo 2020 Olympic. Avoid the nuclear meltdown radioactivity Fukushima janpan olympic! 💀 It's very harmful. Take care ur heath! ♥ If u go there u will die. No buy🚫, ​No visit japan🚫. Do not traveling! It's dangerous. Japan seafoods, water and soils are almost contaminated by radioactivity. If u have it. U have cancer. U will die. Die.💀 ​If u want to die? Enjoy it. ♥😊 And Watching Olympic game on ur TV That's Safety. ♥

  13. Very interesting an comprehensive documentary regarding the whole pluto-mission,it certainly was a NASA triumph reaching this destination
    At the SolarSystems farthest point! Nasa's got the right idea to fully surface-map pluto for a possible future outpost!

  14. SO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT OUR MOON HAS GLACIERS? BECAUSE THAT IMAGE OF PLUTO, IS AN EDITED IMAGE OF OUR MOON'S MARE ORIENTAL BASIN. I'VE DONE THE OVERLAY COUNTLESS TIMES, I RECOMMEND YOU DO THE SAME.

  15. Nibiru is between Uranus and poluto. That is why there are a small amount or no creators from meteor impact. Uranus may contain much more creators.

  16. i still say pluto is a former moon of jupiter that drifted back in solar orbit, and pluto's so-called moons aren't even moons, they're celestial asteroids caught by pluto's gravity

  17. At 5:48 you can see a 90 degree angle right in the center… Sorry but that doesn't happen in nature.. I'm sorry to say but I believe these pictures aren't real..

  18. 6:50 I've just RESEARCHED PROOF that they were giants on Pluto! The head of mummy is just below last 'r' in 'Enchanced Color', and below it – torso, further of that there is also piece of leg, smaller piece of other… Sorry about that;], but see yourself man – a mummy of a giant, big as a mountain;p…

  19. 2:40 "a dwarf planet" he said, I'm from Pluto and I'm very much offended. We have more oil than you don't talk shiet

  20. Hey NASA; we can not get Hydrogen Peroxide Engines to produce any thrust in Vacuum chamber tests. Can you let the tax payers know how NASA maneuvers or propels craft in the perfect vacuum of space with todays rocket thrusters / engines? Test after test have proven our math to be correct; all expanding gas "thrust" produced in a vacuum is consumed by the vacuum leaving, zero, zilch. nil, nada, 0, usable energy. Thanks for you time we look forward to your explanation. God Bless America. WWG1WGA

  21. How can they show the speed of the craft how can you even calculate speed when their are no reference points that can be measured to calculate speed?

  22. 🕵🏻‍♂️They have to send unmanned missions to deep space🌌. Because the humans race is not peaceful yet✔

  23. I think there may be a slight error. At 1:30, you say the Atlas V is the most powerful rocket of all time. According to Wikipedia, "As of 2019, the Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful (highest total impulse) rocket ever brought to operational status, and holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V )

  24. No hubble doesn't see close up only far away!!!
    silly.pluto is closeup. compared to the rest of the universe….we are just a speck .

  25. I can't stand 'enhanced' color photos or CGI things. I wish NASA only showed us what ACTUALLY is there, and not cartoons. I understand enhanced coloring is good for advanced studying of specific things… and CGI may have its place for studying, too… But I only want to see what the human eye would see. I'll accept the other wavelengths, like infrared and ultraviolet. But I hate bullshit CGI or enhanced coloring… How do you people feel?

  26. This is for suckers, the majority of what they give us is computer graphics and altered and blurred picture. Hiding the dragon!

  27. The title makes it sound like we'll spend 13 minutes listening to one thing it found. If it was just one thing, put it in the title and see how many people watch.

  28. I had to quit eight minutes in.  Dudes voice and tone just not bearable.  They should use him instead of water boarding to break spys.

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