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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pluto larger than expected

The day before New Horizons spacecraft perform historic flight across Pluto, experts announced on Monday, July 13, that NASA spaceprobe has been able to establish the size of Pluto.

Measurements by the spacecraft will cross Pluto indicates that the Pluto radius extends along of 1,185 kilometers, with an error margin of +/- 6 miles (10 km). This is 32 to 48 kilometers greater than previously thought. 

Pluto is now officially bigger than Eris, one of hundreds of thousands of mini-planets and comet-like objects circling beyond Neptune in a region called the Kuiper Belt. The discovery of this region in 1992 prompted the official reclassification of Pluto from planet to "dwarf planet.".
This Saturday image provided by NASA shows Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft. On Tuesday NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will come closest to Pluto. New Horizons has traveled 3 billion miles over 9½ years to get to the historic point. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1RvABeX)
Alan Stern, Head of the research team says, this means Pluto has a density lower than previously projected, which could mean Pluto interior contains more ice.
This artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, is seen in a NASA image from July 2015. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1RvzXhj)
NASA's New Horizons trip along the nearly 5 billion kilometers for 9 years will reach its peak on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 ie reaches a distance of 11,000 kilometers from Pluto. According to NASA, the possibility of failure is only 0.0001%, such as when an spacecraft crashed into outer space debris. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOA NEWS]
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