JAN 19, 2020 6:33 AM PST

A Brief Summary of Everything We Know About Pluto

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Pluto was once considered one of the solar system’s planets but was later downgraded to the status of ‘dwarf’ planet after several more similarly sized objects were discovered throughout our solar system. Without this categorization change, the list of known planets would have become substantially longer, and more difficult to keep track of.

Astronomers have had an interest in Pluto for decades, but it wasn’t until NASA’s New Horizons mission that we were finally able to photograph the small world’s intriguing surface great detail. These images depicted a chilly world comprised of ice and rock, with the icy bits containing frozen carbon monoxide, methane, and even nitrogen.

Because of Pluto’s small size, which hardly more than half of the width of the contiguous United States, the world sports a particularly weak gravitational pull that is approximately 6% that of the Earth’s. This gentile tug is enough for Pluto to sport an atmosphere, but a relatively thin one at that, and one that stretches far into outer space.

While Pluto doesn’t have much gravitational influence to speak of, that hasn’t stopped it from collecting its far share of moons over the years as it passes through the Kuiper belt. Pluto sports five known moons, including Charon, Hydra, Kerberos, Nix, and Styx, with Charon being the largest at half of the size of Pluto itself.

There’s no telling when another spacecraft will visit Pluto to learn more about its unique characteristics, but given just how long it takes to venture out there, we can only hope that time will come sooner rather than later such that we can all bear witness to it.

Related: Here's why Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Do Astronauts Have Fun in Space?
JUL 20, 2020
How Do Astronauts Have Fun in Space?
Scientists who inhabit the International Space Station (ISS) typically have 12-hour shifts. These include two and a half ...
JUL 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
JUL 19, 2020
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
A recent study published in Scientific Reports sheds light on how our planet’s water could have first come to be. ...
AUG 25, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Carbon Foam Spacecraft Could Travel 4.37 Light Years in 185 Years
AUG 25, 2020
Carbon Foam Spacecraft Could Travel 4.37 Light Years in 185 Years
A new study has found that carbon-foam spacecraft could fly between Earth and Alpha Centauri, the closest planetary syst ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Are There Planets Better for Life than Earth?
OCT 10, 2020
Are There Planets Better for Life than Earth?
Researchers have found at least 24 planets outside of our solar system may be better for life than Earth. Each a little ...
NOV 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
China to Obtain First Lunar Samples Since 1976
NOV 26, 2020
China to Obtain First Lunar Samples Since 1976
On November 23, 2020, China launched its unmanned Chang'e-5 spacecraft on a mission to the Moon to bring fresh lunar ...
Loading Comments...