The space agency NASA regularly captures stunning images of our universe, leaving space lovers spellbound. On Sunday, NASA shared a stunning image on Instagram taken by its New Horizons spacecraft showing a heart-shaped glacier on the surface of Pluto. The heart-shaped region is informally known as the Tombaugh Regio and is composed of nitrogen and methane.
The image was captioned as ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Our New Horizons spacecraft captured this heart-shaped glacier. It sits on the surface of Pluto, which also includes mountains, cliffs, valleys, craters and plains, which are thought to be made of methane and nitrogen ice ”
See the picture here:
He described the image as ”Pluto’s surface is marked with fissures and craters in shades of brown. The partially visible heart appears in the lower right of the small world, which is surrounded by black space.”
New Horizons launched in January 2006 and reached Pluto in July 2015, flying within 7,800 miles of its surface and becoming the first probe to fly by Pluto and its moons. The far-traveling spacecraft also visited a distant Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) in January 2019.
Instagram users loved the photo and shared a variety of comments. One user wrote, “Wow what a great capture, courtesy of the New Horizon spacecraft.” Another commented, “For me Pluto will always be a planet.”
A third said: “Why isn’t Pluto a plane? he literally has a heart! A fourth added: “Being away doesn’t mean you’re not part of the family. »
Pluto was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system, however, it was downgraded in 2006 and reclassified as a dwarf planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded Pluto’s status to dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a normal-sized planet.
Pluto is just over 1,400 miles (2,250 km) wide, about half the width of the United States or two-thirds the width of the Moon. With its average temperature of -387F (-232C) – Pluto’s surface is covered in ice made up of water, methane and nitrogen and is thought to have a rocky core and possibly a deep ocean.