Pluto, the dwarf planet in our solar system has officially got Indian connection now as a crater on the celestial body got named after India-born scientist Bishun Khare earlier this month.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) earlier this month had approved the second set of feature names on Pluto which included 14 features names that were proposed by the team behind NASA’s New Horizons Mission which carried out first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons with the New Horizons spacecraft back in 2015.
Bishun Khare was born in Varanasi (formerly known as Benaras) on June 27, 1933. He earned degrees in physics, chemistry, and mathematics from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and pursued his doctorate in physics from Syracuse University in New York. Thereafter, he did post-doctoral research at both State University of New York (Stony Brook) and the University of Toronto.
From the 1960s to 1990s, he worked at Cornell University along with and Carl Sagan and published approximately 100 papers together. He moved to NASA Ames as a Senior National Research Fellow in 1996, and later joined the SETI Institute in 1998. He passed away at the age of 80 back in August 2013.
During the course of his career, Khare had investigated the formation of the compounds which make the thick haze which shrouds Saturn’s moon Titan and methane and other organic compounds that erupt from its sister moon, Enceladus. A lot of these compounds were brought into being with the help of photochemical reactions.
According to a statement from the IAU, Khare had worked on Tholins, an organic molecule causes the darkest and reddest regions on Pluto. Apart from Khare, other features were named after famous personalities such as Wright brothers, Percival Lowell- an American astronomer, and Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard.
This is the second set of nomenclature for Pluto features. Two years ago during the first set IAU had named two mountains on Pluto after Mount Everest climbers Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.
To recall, earlier this week, NASA named a rock found on Mars, which is little larger than the size of a golf ball, after the legendary English rock band The Rolling Stones.