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Senior planetary scientist Dr Alan Stern said NASA to make ‘amazing’ announcement about Pluto

AFP

ONE of NASA’s principal investigators has let slip the space agency will be making another huge announcement this week regarding Pluto.

And if Dr Alan Stern’s comments to a packed hall at the University of Alberta in Canada are anything to go by, we might very well be talking about alien life forms.

According to The Guardian, Mr Stern was showcasing the highest resolution photos of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, when he made some huge announcements.

“This world is alive,” he said.

“It has weather, it has hazes in the atmosphere, active geology.”

Mr Stern said NASA would be releasing new data and images this Friday (Australian time) that will change everything we know about the solar system.

“NASA won’t let me tell you what we’re going to tell you on Thursday. It’s amazing,” he said.

While not giving anything away, space enthusiasts are expecting huge news because of the approach NASA is taking for the announcement.

The space agency has used a similar method when it detailed the discovery of theEarth-like Kepler 452b and the recent discovery of flowing water on Mars.

The most recent pictures from the New Horizons spacecraft showcased a wide variety of terrains on both Pluto and Charon.

It was discovered Charon has a huge canyon running 2500km across its surface, while Pluto is home to an odd landscape of rolling and grooved mountains spanning 500km.

Mr Stern said as only 10 per cent of the data from the New Horizons spacecraft has been downloaded, we can only expect to learn more about the dwarf planet and its moon.

“2015 will be a year in textbooks forever,” he said.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. Picture: AFP PHOTO/NASA/JHUAPL/SWR

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. Picture: AFP PHOTO/NASA/JHUAPL/SWRSource:AFP