New Horizons Data Reopens Pluto Planetary Debate

The New Horizons spacecraft has offered the clearest view of our solar system that humanity has ever had to date. One very amazing view that New Horizons has offered us is a closer look at Pluto. In 2006 Pluto was stripped of its planetary status, however the data provided by New Horizons may reopen the debate on whether or not Pluto deserves planetary status. From the information they had at the time, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to classify Pluto as a “dwarf planet,” but New Horizons has offered new data that may offer a much clearer scientific understanding of Pluto.

The information provided by New Horizons will be shared in a lecture by Professor Richard P. Binzel, who is an investigator for NASA involved in the New Horizons mission, on September 9 at MIT University as reported by MIT News. Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson may be interested in the information offered by New Horizons regarding Pluto, since he has largely been blamed by many for Pluto’s downgrade to a dwarf planet. As with any new scientific findings, the New Horizons mission is changing many of our views about our solar system and the rest of the universe beyond.

New Horizons has proven to be one of the most ambitious NASA missions in current human history and the mission isn’t even close to being over. As the name implies, New Horizons is on a course to expand our understanding of not only our tiny little solar system, but possibly even adding to our understanding of interstellar space beyond our solar system. New Horizons next potential destination according to the team heading the mission may be studying Kuiper Belt Objects as reported in a previous article here at Inquisitr. NASA must still approve extending the New Horizons mission, however the prospect of getting a closer look at some of the many Kuiper Belt Objects including comets such as 2014 MU69 which is the object the New Horizons team currently has their eyes on, has scientists very excited.

The reason such Kuiper Belt Objects are so intriguing to scientists is that, these objects have remained almost entirely unchanged since the formation of our solar system. New Horizons gives the astronomical community a chance to gain fresh insight into the building blocks of our solar system. Kuiper Belt Objects are so far from the sun that they are almost locked into a cosmic ice chest, and New Horizons may be the first chance for the astronomical community to explore that cosmic ice chest and answer many of the great questions of our solar system.

[Image via NASA]