Polar caps on Pluto are found: spotted by NASA
In the images, Pluto appears as a small, highly pix-elated blob, but already scientists can see there is something very odd about its surface. Because Pluto is tipped onto its side, similar to Uranus, New Horizons has a steady gaze on one of its polar regions, which appears in the images to be consistently brighter than other areas. Scientists suspect the pole is covered by a highly reflective cap of nitrogen ice.
New Horizons has been traveling toward Pluto for 9.5 years. In the interim, Pluto, which was once considered the ninth and outermost planet in the solar system, was demoted to “dwarf planet” status after scientists discovered other similar icy bodies in solar system’s back yard. As scientists prepare for their first close-up views of Pluto, another mission at the innermost planet is coming to an end.
Out of fuel after four years in orbit, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is expected to make a crash landing into Mercury today (Thursday).