Rivers on Pluto—Lakes on the Edge of the Solar System.

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The neighborhood’s getting interesting again. Used to be we thought of Pluto as a cold, hard rock way out on the edge of the solar system. Dry, like an asteroid. But last year’s New Horizons probe is producing some shocking reveals as scientists pore through the data it sent back.

Starting with the possibility of running liquid on the surface at some point in the planetoid’s history. Yep, rivers and even lakes. Though not water—it’s still too cold for that. Instead, researchers believe Pluto may have once been home to bodies of liquid nitrogen.

And they suspect that the unexpected presence of hot and cold running nitrogen has something to do with the planetoid’s extreme axial tilt. Earth’s tilt sits at a relatively comfortable 23 degrees. Pluto, on the other hand, is canted over at a vertigo-inducing 120 degrees. And that means that it has large tropical zones. Places where it gets hot enough for nitrogen to thaw.

But it also has big arctic zones. And, in a weird twist, areas where the two zones overlap.

Check it out at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/03/22/pluto-may-have-had-lakes-rivers-once-shocked-nasa-scientists-say.html

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Pluto!—up close and personal

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After nine years in space—a trip covering 5 billion kilometres—NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to distant Pluto this morning.

New Horizon’s has already beamed back pictures of Pluto and its five moons. But tonight it will transmit—hopefully—the final all clear signal indicating that it has survived it’s epic journey to the edge of the solar system in fine shape. A journey that took so long that Pluto itself was demoted from full-fledged planet to dwarf status during the voyage.

But dwarf or not—it looks great to me.

Check out the full story here:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/07/14/nasa-probe-makes-history-reaches-closest-point-to-pluto.html