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Science & Technology

Santa Barbara County Researcher Helps Discover Small Craters Never Seen Before In Outer Solar System

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Photo by NASA/JHUAPL/LORRI/SwRI
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New Horizon's LORRI camera image of small craters on Charon, which is Pluto's moon

A Santa Barbara County researcher was part of a team of scientists who discovered small craters in the outer solar system not seen before.

Sarah Greenstreet was a scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory based in Goleta when she used photos from the New Horizons spacecraft to look at craters on Pluto and its moon, Charon.

She says the asteroids that caused these craters are so small that they can’t be seen by a telescope, which makes the discovery of the craters so important.

"These craters have to date back to at least four billion years ago at the start of when the solar system formed," Greenstreet says.

This discovery can help scientists better understand how the solar system and planets formed.