Science & Tech

6 things we've learned from the New Horizons fly-past of Pluto

(Photo: Nasa/New Horizons
(Photo: Nasa/New Horizons

After Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft made a successful fly-past of Pluto, the space agency learned a staggering amount about the dwarf planet which orbits on the edge of our solar system.

This gif showed just how quickly our knowledge of Pluto has increased:

The $720 million (£461 million) probe is the size of a baby grand piano and, after launching on January 19 2006, it reached an Earth-relative velocity of 36,373mph, making it the fastest space vehicle in history.

The programme only cost $0.15 dollars per American per year - which is an incredibly small outlay for a mission that was so successful.

The craft sent images back to Nasa from nearly three billion miles away after it passed within 7,700 miles of Pluto, and here’s what we have learned since:

We’ve seen Pluto’s heart

Heart-shaped feature that is. It’s approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across, and new images have shown how gorgeous it is.

The 'heart' borders darker equatorial terrains, and the mottled terrain to its east is complex.

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