Pluto has blue skies and exposed picture taken by New Horizons

Pluto has blue skies and exposed, bright red water ice, NASA announced on Thursday, as the first spacecraft ever sent to the dwarf planet continues to send data from the edge of the solar system.

First spacecraft  New Horizons ever sent to the dwarf planet continues to transmit data after sending the first color images of Pluto’s atmospheric hazes last week..

NASA’s New Horizons probe sent the first color images of Pluto’s atmospheric hazes to Earth last week, revealing that the mysterious mix of particles scatter blue light when sunlight reaches them.

In contrast to its Earth, Mars has smudged dawns and bleary sunsets, sometimes in a grey-green or mix of yellow and hazy blue. Its atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, and far thinner, although the Curiosity rover has from time to time photographed blue clouds drifting through the dust. In contrast the Venusian atmosphere, although also mostly carbon dioxide, churns with clouds of sulfuric acid created in part by the extreme radiation so close to the sun.

NASA also announced the discovery of exposed regions of water ice, curiously at some of the places that appear bright red in recent color images.

Most of the water ice on Pluto, including mountains the size of the Rockies, is covered by other kinds of frozen detritus, including nitrogen snow and methane ice, and the scientists admitted that the correlation between the red colors and water ice has them puzzled.

New Horizons is now more than 3.1bn miles from Earth and hurtling toward another Kuiper belt object, this one temporarily named “potential target one”. With its systems and plutonium fuel “healthy”, as Stern put it on Monday, the spacecraft could continue to relay data back to Earth about the third ring of the solar system for more than 20 years.

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