Mysteries of Pluto’s Atmosphere Revealed

Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003. It has been several months since the New Horizons space probe made its historic flyby of Pluto and now new images […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003.
It has been several months since the New Horizons space probe made its historic flyby of Pluto and now new images are coming in which have shocked the science community. One of the latest transmitted photos suggest the presence of frozen liquid nitrogen on the dwarf planet’s surface.
The possible presence of liquid on Pluto’s surface have baffled scientists. First, average temperature on the planet’s surface could easily exceed -400 Fahrenheit. According to National Geographic, the team working on the New Horizons project is slowly learning that Pluto is not a dead planet after all, contrary to original suggestions. Scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believe that changes in Pluto’s atmospheric pressure may have resulted in the presence of the frozen mass of liquid slowly thawing on the surface. In a statement, New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said, “Liquids may have existed on the surface of Pluto in the past. We see what for all the world looks to a lot of our team like a former lake.” Pluto takes 248 years to orbit around the sun. As Pluto completes its orbit, it experiences some of the most extreme season shifts in the solar system. When scientists try to simulate these seasonal changes taking into account how Pluto’s title can wobble, they found out that the nitrogen atmosphere of the dwarf planet becomes dramatically thicker and thinner over millions of years. The exact event when this frozen liquid nitrogen melts was estimated by scientists to have took place at least 800,000 years ago when the Pluto’s axial tilt reached 103 degrees. Scientists believe that Pluto is currently in an intermediate phase between its climate extremes. This means that it will take a very long time before this event happens again. What really excites scientists is the fact that New Horizons have only transmitted half of all its captured data about Pluto. Scientists are very keen to know the rest of the data in order for them to release a solid conclusion regarding their theories about the dwarf planet. The New Horizons team recently delivered 40 scientific papers at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference based on the data transmitted by the space probe.
Here is a list of ATI instructors, who helped plan, develop and engineer the New Horizons Mission. 1. Dr. Alan Stern http://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm 2. Eric Hoffman http://www.aticourses.com/effective_design_reviews.htm http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_quality.htm http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm 3. Chris DeBoy http://www.aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm 4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau http://www.aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm 5. Douglas Mehoke http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm 6. Steven Gemeny http://www.aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm 7. John Penn http://www.aticourses.com/fundamentals_of_RF_engineering.html 8. Timothy Cole http://www.aticourses.com/space_based_lasers.htm http://www.aticourses.com/Tactical_Intelligence_Surveillance_Reconnaissance_System_Engineering.htm http://www.aticourses.com/Wireless_Sensor_Networking.htm 9. Robert Moore http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm 10. Jay Jenkins http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm   Read more related posts on ATI courses blog More info on Pluto discoveries on Space.com


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