BANGKOK, 22 July 2015 – The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) (NARIT) together with Chulalongkorn University held a press conference on the 22th July 2015 at Chulalongkorn university, announcing the discoveries after the NASA’s New Horizons shuttle has orbited Pluto on the 14th July 2015.
Despite the distance between the shuttle and Earth is now over 5 billion kilometers, data captured by the shuttle are still being sent back to Earth.
With just only one percent of the total data transferred back to Earth, Dr. Wiphu Rujopakarn, Chulalongkorn University Professor, a Physics specialist who conducted the press conference announced the exciting discoveries evident from the shuttle’s date still floating 5 billion kilometers away.
The shuttle passed Pluto and is now embarking on its new mission of space exploration beyond Pluto. The shuttle will continue to transfer the rest of the data gathered from the dwarf planet.
From the first set of data Dr. Wiphu pointed that what humans have predicted Pluto would be have changed forever, stating that Pluto is remarkably flat, with less craters than expected. This contradicts mainstream scientific belief that Pluto’s surface would be similiar to the moon. This new information may leads to the confirmation that Pluto is either still geologically active or possesses an atmosphere that weathers out craters.
The ice plains of the planet is also a completely new discovery, which may lead to scientists theorizing that something has been changing during the past 100 million years, which is very recent time-frame, considering the solar system is calculated to be 4.5 billion years old.
Pluto has a relatively thick atmosphere, while the density of Pluto’s atmosphere is only about one hundred thousandth of the Earth’s atmospheric density. Pluto’s atmosphere also extends up to about the range of 1,000 miles above the surface, which is very far considering the size of Pluto’s radius. The planet itself also houses a very small gravitational pull.
Dr. Wiphu also pointed to the rugged surface means mountains and terrains and that there are many dry ice mountains with a height of between 10 to 15 kilometers. Scientists projected that there should be a lot of ice, especially frozen carbon dioxide and methane gas.
While exploring the dwarf planet, the shuttle also explored the surface of Pluto’s moon (Sharon) and found that the moon also houses cliffs 7-9 km deep.
As there more images and data to are sent back to Earth, the New Horizon’s 700 million U.S. dollar project has already brought much joy and new insights to the world’s scientists. Many people have raised the question that how are these discoveries helping people?
Dr. Wiphu pointed that by understanding more about how the solar system forms by looking at various bodies, scientists will understand the big picture more. He says scientific knowledge on solar system formation has been enhanced. Citing photographic evidence he confirms similarities of planets located at the different parts of the solar system, and added that “we have a better picture of how solar system forms, and since everything forms together in one single cloud that collapses into the solar system.”
There will now be more clues to age old questions such as host fast will did the Earth take to cool down, and when did life begin, he says.
Each star in the galaxy is like our solar system’s sun, with two hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. He concluded that the incomprehensible size of the universe is so vast that we will never be able to completely explore its entirety.