New Horizons Shocker — Mountain On Pluto Moon Charon

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New Horizons Shocker — Mountain On Pluto Moon Charon

NASA’s New Horizons mission to fly by Pluto has been a smashing success by almost any standard. Planetary astronomers are besides themselves with excitement over the new images of the distant, dwarf planet streaming back from the spacecraft since Tuesday. Researchers have already begun rewriting the textbooks on Pluto based on the new data from New Horizons.

But the NASA probe did not only take pictures of Pluto. It also captured images of Pluto’s massive moon Charon, and these pictures have also created a major scientific buzz. One of the most exciting discoveries was that there is a large mountain on Charon, which was a big surprise as mountains are a sign of relatively recent volcanic activity.  This is a big deal as researchers did not expect that a “dead moon” would have active geological features.

It took an almost decade-long voyage through interplanetary space, but the New Horizons spacecraft zoomed by Pluto on July 14th for a first ever flyby of the most distant planet in the solar system. The craft was traveling at over 31,000 mph when it passed by, and was actually a mere 7,750 miles above the rocky planet’s surface.

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New Horizons – More on mysterious moon on Charon

NASA published the first close-up images of Charon on Thursday, July 16th, and geologists across the globe are stunned and a