Scientists just figured out how Pluto got its heart

Published On: September 22, 2016 04:21 PM NPT By: Agencies

A year after NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft captured a stunning image of a heart on the surface of Pluto scientists can reveal what caused the symbol of love to appear plastered across the dwarf planet.

A new study published in Nature appears to solve the mystery of how the heart-shaped nitrogen glacier known as the Sputnik Planum, located in the Tombaugh Regio region, was formed on the planet and debunks previous theories surrounding its origins.

French scientists used data and observations collected during the New Horizons flyby last year to create a computer simulation of Pluto’s atmospheric development over the last 50,000 years.

The simulation distributed nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane ices a few millimeters thick across the planet and allowed the scientists to look at different "climate" scenarios that could explain Pluto’s ice distribution.


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