Pluto is not a planet, but we still reserve many mysteries. The former ninth planet in the solar system, discovered in 1930, has been downgraded to “dwarf planet” in September 2006. A few months earlier, a US NASA probe left Earth in his direction. After nine years of travel and 4.8 billion km, New Horizons began its exploration.




The first image transmitted in April, only shows two bright and fuzzy points.

But day after day, the probe nears its destination. On July 8, the US space agency received a color photograph. “This side of Pluto is dominated by three large regions with variable brightness,” said the statement from NASA . You can see “a dark part centered on the equator, nicknamed” the whale “(bottom left), a large bright area shaped heart-shaped with a size of 2,000 km (on the right), and a polar region of intermediate brightness. ”

“The next time we see Pluto closer, part of the region will be represented with a resolution 500 times better than what we see today. It will be amazing! “Enthuses Jeff Moore, of the imaging team leader from NASA research center .

On this other image, we see Pluto along with Charon, the largest of its five moons. “These two objects have been together for billions of years, around the same orbit, but are totally different,” says researcher Alan Stern.

Charon has no atmosphere and unlike Pluto. The interior of the dwarf planet is rocky, while its satellite is composed of both ice and rock. “Large differences in color and appearance of Pluto and Charon, one of its moons, which is dark and gray” are another surprising observation, notes the researcher.

New Horizons will fly across the two stars closer to July 14 and unveil the mysteries of the dwarf planet and its moons. This exploration “aura of scientific benefits unmatched since the Voyager missions in the 1980s,” says Alan Stern.