We all know what Pluto looks like now. It’s a planet with a heart, and has nitrogen ice that flows and fills up the various craters. The latest reports say that Pluto has a mysterious reddish haze that extends nearly 100 miles above its surface. Scientists are not sure as to what it is, just as they were unsure whether Pluto had any volcanic activity – and evidence now suggests that it has plenty.
Sadly, we won’t be getting more close ups any more for at least a few decades, till somebody sends another explorer to Pluto. While NASA has done a tremendous job, and reshaped our idea of the dwarf planet, what did Pluto look like before?
1. Pluto – An Icy World
This is how most people thought Pluto to look like. It was a cold, icy world like Uranus and Neptune, bereft of any volcanic activity. In fact, the general view was that Pluto’s surface would be riddled with craters and while it was always known that the dominating gas in Pluto’s atmosphere is that of Nitrogen, it wasn’t known how Nitrogen affected the planet. Scientists always maintained that studying about Pluto was a challenge, given that it is so far away.
2. The Cute Pluto
You see this Pluto in many books that you bought in the past. The colors differed, the shapes differed. However, the underlying principle was the same. We all got the glimpse of a lonely planet that was devoid of much atmosphere that we could see and often interpretations of a rocky planet with no or little ice. The atmosphere of Pluto, it has now been revealed is hazy. What’s more, ices flow like glaciers on the surface of the planet, and has come as a big surprise to scientists.
3. The Graphical Pluto
This is the third type of images we saw of the planet. Pluto here is just an image represented by an artist. You really do not get any details about the planet. Instead, you just have a small and tiny planet drawn in by the artist, often giving a cold and icy tinge to it. The descriptions are mostly written and talk about the planet’s atmosphere and cores and less about the image itself.
Do you know of other images that should have been featured here and what you knew Pluto to be before? Are you looking forward to welcome back Pluto as a planet to the Solar System? We would love to know.
The Icy Tales Editorial Board