May 01, 2017 08:50 AM EDT
Pluto was stripped of its full planet status in 2006 and demoted to dwarf planet. Other planets have dedicated rovers and spacecraft in studying them, but the New Horizons spacecraft only had a flyby of Pluto. Nonetheless, NASA researcher Alan Stern made it known that he and other scientists are working on a second mission to Pluto.
While New Horizon's collected data were substantial, it left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with more questions than answers. Questions that only can be replied by studying Pluto for a longer period of time, which may actually be in the works. NASA researcher Stern hit on his Twitter account and posted that he along with other scientists are working on a second mission to Pluto.
Stern also stated that there's a talk in the science community of a spacecraft to orbit Pluto, which would then relay information back to Earth. The mission is to send a spacecraft with instruments to map the planet Pluto and answer some of the questions that the New Horizons spacecraft had raised, Gizmodo reported.
But, sending a spacecraft to the planet Pluto as fast as possible would raise some challenges, particularly in slowing down to orbit around the planet. For the New Horizons, an orbital mission was not possible, Phys Org reported.
Nonetheless, there's no definitive plan as to what an orbiter mission to Pluto would look like. The discussion was meant to officially start about what scientists would want from the next exploration. But Stern and some other planetary scientists envision an orbiter that would stay at least three to four years at Pluto.
Stern also stated that the second mission to Pluto is underway and the mission has become a thing. The NASA researcher also hopes the team will grow from 35 to around 100.
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