It looks as if the previously thought out theory of how Pluto’s atmosphere freezes has been shattered with new observation of the dwarf world orbiting billions of miles away from our Sun.

(Pluto Today) Pluto’s surface is bright because its atmosphere periodically condenses onto the surface. Theory suggested that, as Pluto cools, the traces of methane should condense first, followed by nitrogen ice as Pluto’s surface grows colder.

The study showed two surprising results: that most of Pluto’s nitrogen ice contains dissolved methane and that the area covered by pure methane ice patches is roughly the same as the areas covered by the nitrogen methane mixture. The fact that methane ice is mixed in with the nitrogen suggests that the freeze-out process happens quickly and haphazardly.

Despite the controversy surrounding Pluto’s demotion, this world (or rather dwarf world) still fascinates scientists with its patchy surface of nitrogen and methane.

Although orbiting over six billion kilometers away from the Sun, Pluto may hold some value for future explorers as methane is a valuable resource, especially in deep space.

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