NASA writes love letter to dwarf-planet Pluto
NASA has written a love letter to Pluto five years after the New Horizon spacecraft whizzed by the then-planet and gave earthlings their first glimpse at the mysterious world.
Taking to Instagram. the space agency wrote:
"Dear Pluto We love you.
"Happy five-year anniversary since our New Horizons spacecraft revealed your complex and beautiful world.
"To celebrate, we're showing off one of our favorite pictures from our time together.
"You are literally GLOWING. Don't stop that shine! Keep being perfect.
"Distance has nothing on this relationship."
READ MORE: Pluto spacecraft survives close encounter
New Horizons took the photos on July 14 2015, when the spacecraft was 200,000 kilometers away from Pluto.
The historic fly-by was 10 years in the making and captured stunning images of the celestial body – including its "blue haze".
Scientists believe the blue glow is a photochemical smog that is produced after sunlight scatters of methane and other molecules in Pluto's atmosphere.
The action produces a mixture of hydrocarbons such as acetylene and ethylene, which then accumulates to form tiny haze particles that are a fraction of a micrometre in size.
Pluto's glory was short-lived, however.
Shortly after the fly-by it was stripped of its planetary status.
In 2016 it was demoted to a "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union in a highly controversial decision.
Debate still rages amongst scientists and members of the public, with both eager to restore Pluto to former grandeur.