Hydra Is Covered In Water Ice

Hydra Is Covered In Water Ice

Pluto’s outermost moon, Hydra, was only discovered in June 2005, but now scientists have confirmed that it is covered in almost pure water ice.

It is thought that Hydra formed after a massive impact event around 4 billion years ago which also led to the formation of Pluto and Charon. Hydra is only 31 miles wide but it appeared clean and bright in images beamed back to Earth by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, writes Ian O’Neill for Discovery.

Hydra piques the interest of scientists

New Horizons made a historic close pass by Pluto in July 2015. Scientists were intrigued by the brightness of Hydra, and speculated that the small moon could be covered in water ice.

Carlson Capital Sees Return Of “Goldilocks” Market

Yarra Square Investing Greenhaven Road CapitalCarlson Capital's Double Black Diamond fund added 1.47% net of fees in May, taking its year-to-date performance to 5.2%, according to a copy of the fund's letter, which ValueWalk has been able to review. Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Founded in 1993 by Clint Carlson, Carlson Capital has struggled to retain assets Read More

Now data from the NASA spacecraft has been analyzed, confirming that Hydra is covered by almost pure water ice. The Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) on New Horizons’ Ralph instrument was used to measure the spectral signature of water ice on Hydra, which is even stronger than that seen on Pluto’s larger moon Charon.

This means that Hydra is covered in larger ice particles with less dusty material.

New Horizons provides valuable data to scientists

“Perhaps micrometeorite impacts continually refresh the surface of Hydra by blasting off contaminants,” said Simon Porter, a New Horizons science team member from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “This process would have been ineffective on the much larger Charon, whose much stronger gravity retains any debris created by these impacts.”

Hydra appeared only as a small speck in even the best images from the Hubble space telescope. New Horizons was able to drastically improve our knowledge of Pluto and its moons during a historic fly by.

The NASA spacecraft revealed that Hydra is an irregular shaped moon that looks “like the state of Michigan.” It has at least two large craters and the upper region is slightly darker than the lower, which would suggest that the surface composition is different.

Spacecraft pushing human knowledge

“Before last week, Hydra was just a faint point of light, so it’s a surreal experience to see it become an actual place, as we see its shape and spot recognizable features on its surface for the first time,” said Ted Stryk, mission science collaborator from Roane State Community College in Tennessee at the time of the fly by.

Pluto is orbited by Charon, Nix, Hydra and two more moons called Kerberos and Styx. The latter pair were discovered by Hubble in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

New Horizons was able to beam back more information on Pluto and its satellites, allowing scientists to better understand this area of the Kuiper belt. Mission scientists are looking forward to receiving information about the other small moons so that they can compare them to Hydra and Charon.

Space exploration continues to advance at a considerable pace, and public interest in the subject continues to be high. NASA has contributed to a wave of space fever with its masterful use of social media, but the fact is that there are some remarkable advances being made.

One such example is the successful testing of reusable rockets by SpaceX and Blue Origin, which means that space travel should become far less expensive than before. This cost reduction means that manned missions to Mars are moving closer to becoming a reality, with NASA projecting that such a mission could take place in the 2030s.

Previous article Protesters shut down Chicago’s Citadel Center
Next article Here’s The Full Latest List of Pakistanis Named In Panama Papers
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]</i>

No posts to display