9 Things The New Horizon Probe Has Taught Us About Pluto

What have we learnt about the brave little dwarf planet?

It's done it. Reports have come in that the New Horizons probe has officially "phoned home" to let us know that it safely completed its flyby of the much loved dwarf planet, Pluto.

This much-hyped mission has so far yielded some spectacular results and will continue to do so in the future, but what have we learnt? Well, let's begin with what we already knew.

Pluto is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune that is similar to the asteroid belt but bigger. It has 5 known moons, the largest of which is Charon. Pluto is 32.6 AU (astronomical units) away, and light from the Sun takes about 5.5 hours to reach it - far quicker than the New Horizons probe which has taken a leisurely 9 years after being launched in 2006. The probe managed to reach its destination within 72 seconds of the estimate NASA's original estimate - compare that to the delivery estimate for your Dominos pizza and you'll see how freaking accurate those boffins at NASA are.

So what can we take away from this frontier-pushing, history-making, super-punctual mission to Pluto? Bearing in mind that the the first encounter was only the beginning, and that we will continue to gather new information and come up with new theories in the coming months and years, what have we gleaned already?

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