Thanks to all the information pouring in from NASA’s New Horizons mission, Pluto is making a comeback.
As New Horizons principle investigator Alan Stern says, “Pluto is the new Mars” – and that’s not just because of its rising popularity.
“There are really so many ways Pluto reminds us of Mars,” says Stern.
Puzzling atmospheric questions linger over Mars and Pluto.
Pluto is also losing its atmosphere, but at a far slower rate than scientists expected before New Horizons arrived.
Some of the terrain features suggest that Pluto may have once had liquid pooling on and running across its surface, Stern said.
On Mars, they are primarily confined to the cooler poles; on Pluto, they collect at the edge of the planitia, New Horizons revealed.
Over the last few decades, Mars has had a wealth of robotic visitors from Earth, while Pluto has only had one.