New Horizons Spacecraft, Pluto - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which Pluto Moon is home to an unusual canyon system deeper than Earth’s Grand Canyon?

a. Io
b. Charon
c. Ganymede
d. Cassini
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Charon

Pluto’s largest moon Charon is home to an unusual canyon system far deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon on earth according to a new image taken over by NASA New Horizon Probe.

  • The deep canyon is named Argo Chasma
  • It is around 700 km long while Arizona’s Grand Canyon is 450 km long
  • Scientists estimate Argo Chasma to be 9 km deep more than 5 times the depth of earth’s Grand Canyon
  • There are locations along the canyon’s length where sheer cliffs reach many miles high and the Verona Rupes on Miranda, a Uranus moon.
  • The latter moon is known for the title of the tallest known cliff face in the solar system
  • Image was taken by New Horizon LORRI or Long Range Reconnaissance Imager at 2.33 km per pixel.
  • This has take a range of 466,000 km from Charon which is 5 hours 22 minutes after the New Horizons closest approach to Charon on July 14 in the previous year
  • Charon which is Pluto’s largest moon once had a sub surface ocean long since frozen
  • The moon is characterised by pull apart tectonic faults which result in valleys, scarps and ridges

2)   Earth’s inner core was formed _______ billion years ago, according to research released on October 8 2015.

a. 1 billion
b. 1.5 billion
c. 1-1.5 bilion
d. 1.6 billion
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1-1.5 bilion

Scientists have found the inner core of the earth was formed 1-1.5 billion years back as it froze from the molten iron outer core. The inner core is Earth’s deepest layer and it is a ball of solid iron larger than Pluto surrounded by liquid outer core. Inner core is a recent addition to the planet and it was formed according to scientists who have debated its period of formation as ranging from 0.5 to 2 billion years. Researchers conducted an analysis of records from ancient igneous rocks and found sharp increase in magnetic field of the planet between 1 to 1.5 billion years ago. Increased magnetic field is a possible indication of the first occurrence of solid iron at the centre of the earth. The research also suggests average growth rate of the solid inner core is one mm per year. Earth’s magnetic field is generated by motion of liquid iron alloy in the outer core around 3000 km beneath the crust of the earth.