Remember when I showed you those amazing new photos of Pluto from NASA's New Horizons probe earlier in the week? That was just the beginning.
The spacecraft has gone closer to the dwarf planet than any other in history, coming within 7,800 miles from Pluto's surface, snapping high-res photos in the process. So far, the probe has discovered a heart and even an image of Pluto the lovable dog from Disney - kinda. What else will it discover?
NASA hosted a briefing Friday to release the new images and accompanying new interesting data. It turns out, NASA has found craterless and frozen plains in Pluto's "Heart." Here's the photo.
This photo is gorgeous, but what does it mean? Here's what we know so far:
- NASA is calling the area Sputnik Platinum, after Earth's first artificial satellite.
- The plain appears to be less than 100 million years old and could still be in the process of being shaped by geological factors.
- The area is roughly 12 miles across and is bordered by shallow troughs.
- Some areas have a darker appearance, while other areas have clumps of hills and small pits, which could have formed by a process called sublimation. That means ice could have turned directly from a solid into a gas, like dry ice here on Earth.
- New Horizons has discovered evidence of carbon monoxide ice.
And, as a bonus, NASA also released this photo of Pluto and its moon, Charon. Data accompanying this photo wasn't available as of press time, but stay tuned to what's Happening Now and we will have more on the story as it develops.
Want to learn more? You can watch the official NASA press conference over at NASA.tv. Click here to check it out. You can also join the conversation on NASA's Facebook or use the hashtag #PlutoFlyBy and join NASA on Twitter.