Pluto has been the subject of much discussion since it was deemed a dwarf planet in 2006. Despite its new classification, interest in the planet has not waned. NASA scientists continue to learn more about Pluto, which is a mere 3 billion miles way, via spacecraft that capture high-resolution images. In 2015, researchers were thrilled to discover something new after a spacecraft captured this image, which shows a heart shape on Pluto’s surface. (Adorable much?)
Now, thanks to more high-res photos (taken from approximately 48,000 miles away), NASA researchers are starting to understand exactly what this unique area of the planet looks like. Isolating the left-side of the “heart,” they’ve painstakingly created a geological map that outlines Pluto’s unique terrain.
It looks a little like an abstract rendering of the brain, but what it shows is truly fascinating. Showing an area that is 1,290 miles top to bottom, it details the enormous geological variety found on the surface, including mountain ranges, craters, floating hills, and rugged highlands, as well as the nitrogen-ice plain informally named Sputnik Planum.
For researchers, mapping the geography helps them understand the chronology of the planet’s formation. For everyone else, it’s just freaking cool to see. If you want to know more details, head over to NASA’s site.
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