Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Professor Robert Johnson and his team simulate Pluto's upper atmosphere

This July, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will probe the Pluto system. Modeling and simulation work done by Professor Bob Johnson and his team show promising data revealing that nitrogen in the atmosphere from the cold and distant dwarf planet Pluto could be flowing over to its moon Charon, which would be the first known example of a such an event.
img: Nasa 
 The group's findings temper past doubts about Pluto and its moons potentially sharing an atmosphere.

From New Scientist:

  "It's thought to happen all the time in astronomy, such as in the case of binary stars or explanets located close to their stars,"  says Johnson. "Calculations and computer models are one thing. But here we have a spacecraft that's going to fly by and directly test our simulations, which is quite exciting."