Dwarf Planet of Our Solar System

Pluto Planet Dwarf

Pluto is a dwarf planet located in the outer reaches of our Solar System. It was discovered in 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh and was classified as the ninth planet in our Solar System until 2006 when it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the Solar System that is populated with icy bodies and small planets. It is named after the Roman god of the underworld, which is fitting as it is the farthest planet from the Sun in our Solar System.

  • Pluto’s Size and Composition

Pluto has a diameter of approximately 2,377 kilometers (1,477 miles), which is just under 20% of the size of Earth’s diameter. It has a mass that is only about 0.002% of Earth’s mass, which makes it significantly smaller than any other planet in our Solar System.

Pluto is composed primarily of rock and ice, with the majority of the ice being frozen nitrogen. It also has water ice and other volatile materials such as methane and carbon monoxide. The surface of Pluto is varied, with large mountain ranges, plains, and valleys. Its largest moon, Charon, is about half the size of Pluto and is thought to have formed from a collision between Pluto and another large object in the Kuiper Belt.

  • Pluto’s Orbit and Rotation

Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit that takes it far beyond the orbit of Neptune at its furthest point and brings it closer to the Sun than Neptune at its closest point. It takes Pluto about 248 Earth years to complete one orbit around the Sun, which means that it spends about 20 years in each zodiac sign.

Pluto’s rotation is also unique. It takes about 6.4 Earth days for Pluto to complete one rotation on its axis, which is tilted at an angle of about 120 degrees. This means that Pluto’s seasons are much more extreme than those on Earth. For example, during the summer months, the sun never sets in some areas of Pluto’s surface, while during winter months, other areas never see the sun.

  • Exploration of Pluto

Despite being discovered in 1930, it wasn’t until 2015 that we got our first close-up view of Pluto. In July of that year, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made a flyby of Pluto and its moons, providing us with the first detailed images of the dwarf planet.

The New Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006 and traveled more than 5 billion kilometers (3 billion miles) to reach Pluto. It took more than nine years to reach Pluto, traveling at a speed of about 14 kilometers per second (31,000 miles per hour).

During its flyby, the New Horizons spacecraft collected a vast amount of data about Pluto and its moons, including detailed images of its surface and information about its atmosphere and composition. One of the most significant discoveries made by the spacecraft was that Pluto has an active geology, with evidence of ice volcanoes and other geological activity on its surface.

  • Future Exploration of Pluto

Despite the success of the New Horizons mission, there is still much to learn about Pluto and the other objects in the Kuiper Belt. In the coming years, several missions are planned to explore the outer reaches of our Solar System, including the Kuiper Belt.

NASA’s Lucy mission, scheduled to launch in 2021, will explore the Trojan asteroids, which are located in the same region of space as Jupiter. The mission will also visit a Kuiper Belt object, giving us a closer look at these icy bodies.

In addition to the Lucy mission, NASA is also planning a mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt in the 2030s.

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