19:40 GMT +3 hours25 August 2016
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This map of the left side of Pluto’s heart-shaped feature uses colors to represent Pluto’s varied terrains, which helps scientists understand the complex geological processes at work

NASA Maps Out Pluto ‘Broken Heart’ to Study Planet’s Terrain

© NASA. JHUAPL/SwRI
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While millions of people around the world are celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, NASA astronomers have also gotten straight to the heart of planet Pluto, seeking to know more about the tiny planet’s geological nature and evolution.

Last year, NASA told us about Pluto’s “broken heart” region, claiming that the dwarf planet has its own “heart,” a mysterious surface area in the Tombaugh Region.

Trying to learn more about the mysterious area and understand its surface, NASA scientists have mapped terrain on the “broken heart” region in different colors.

“This map covers a portion of Pluto’s surface that measures 1,290 miles (2,070 kilometers) from top to bottom,” a NASA press release said.

Each patch of color stands for a certain type of terrain, different in their geological morphology – uplands, plateaus, smooth lowlands, etc.

“Producing such maps is important in gauging what processes have operated where on Pluto, and when they occurred relative to other processes at work,” NASA stated.

In July 2015, NASA New Horizons space probe came within 12,500 kilometers of Pluto, becoming the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet.

In October, NASA said that an analysis of the data transferred by New Horizons revealed that Pluto has blue atmospheric hazes and numerous small exposed regions of ice water on its surface.  

Related:
NASA Reveals New Horizon’s Close-Ups of Pluto
You’ve Never Seen Pluto Like This Before
NASA Unveils New Pluto Photos from New Horizons Flyby
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Pluto, NASA
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