There’ve been some stunning pictures recently sent back from distant parts of our solar system which I wanted to share.
When I was a boy, people could only imagine what a comet actually looks like. Now we know.
NASA’s Dawn probe, launched from earth in 2007, this month sent back some phenomenal pictures of the dwarf planet Ceres, whose 1000 km diameter makes it the largest object in the asteroid belt. Remarkable features include some extremely bright reflective areas and a 3-mile-high pyramid.
Jupiter’s moon Europa, despite being stuck a frigid 3/4 of a billion kilometers away from the sun, is now believed to hold a liquid ocean of water beneath its icy crust, kept warm by the tidal forces of the gravitational pull from the giant planet. And perhaps life in those oceans? You can bet I’m a big supporter of NASA’s plans for a new mission to see what’s there.
Saturn’s moon Titan definitely has clouds that rain down on surface oceans. But its weather patterns are based on liquid methane, not H20.
Geysers spewing water ice out from Enceladus, another of Saturn’s many moons, appear to be the source of one of the giant planet’s beautiful rings.
Like many others of my generation, I was sad to see Pluto demoted from its long-held status as our solar system’s ninth planet. But that disappointment is made up for by the remarkable recent images from NASA’s New Horizons probe of Pluto and its moon Charon in their orbital dance. Can’t wait to see the close-ups.