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Pluto is alive—but where is the heat coming from?

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posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:12 PM
Pluto seems to continue to warm up, and astrophysicist are still trying to figure out what is going on.

By Eric Hand Jul. 15, 2015 , 7:00 PM

Towering mountains of water ice rise up to 3500 meters tall on Pluto, above smooth plains covered in veneers of nitrogen and methane ice, NASA’s New Horizons team announced today. The discovery, along with the finding that parts of the dwarf planet’s surface are crater-free and therefore relatively young, points to a place that has been geologically reworked in the recent past. “It could even be active today,” said John Spencer, a New Horizons team member at Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in Boulder, Colorado, at a press conference today at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

The team also showed off new images of unexpectedly smooth surfaces on Pluto’s moon Charon—which, without an atmosphere, was expected to have an even more battered surface than Pluto. Radioactive elements in both bodies’ interiors could provide some of the heat needed for geological mountain building or ice flows that repave the surface. But Pluto, and especially Charon, are far too small for this heat to persist. The giant impact thought to have formed the two worlds could also provide a source of energy, but that probably happened billions of years ago.

“It’s going to send a lot of scientists back to the drawing boards,” said Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator at SWRI, at the press conference. Scientists outside the team suggest that the puzzlingly youthful surfaces could be explained if the dwarf planet and its moon were formed in a far more recent impact event, or if their reservoirs of water ice were mixed with other compounds that can melt and flow and lower temperatures.

Smooth surfaces on Pluto's moon Charon imply geological reworking in the recent past.

Geoffrey Collins, a planetary scientist at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, unaffiliated with the team, is amazed by the images. “Clearly were seeing internal activity on the surface of Pluto and Charon,” he says. “Something is pulling apart their ice crusts.Collins is excited because there is no way to explain the activity with conventional models of heat loss. “If the Charon-Pluto impact happened more recently, all the problems would be solved,” he says.

Back in 2002, as Pluto was getting farther, and farther away from the Sun, the planet was warming for some unexplained reason.
Global Warming on Pluto Puzzles Scientists(2002)
Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find(2002)

Astrophysicist are seeing activity in both the planet, and it's moon. Even though it was suspected that this could be a seasonal occurrence, the planet and it's moon Charon are somehow 14 years later still warming up.

What could be causing this for over a decade?

edit on 3-12-2016 by ElectricUniverse because: add link and correct comment.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:26 PM
Story of the day for this space lover. Gonna chew on this for a bit. Thanks OP, I was just doing some research and missed this one.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:26 PM

What could be causing this for over a decade?

Its either Nibiru or aliens.

Interesting stuff S&F

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:28 PM
In 2010 NASA also captured some dramatic changes occurring in Pluto. It became 20% more red.

By Daily Mail Reporter
Updated: 08:14 EST, 5 February 2010

Nasa scientists have been left stunned after detailed images of the surface of Pluto reveal it has dramatically changed colour over just a two-year period.

The Hubble Telescope captured the images, which are the most detailed and dramatic ever taken of the distant dwarf planet.

They revealed that the cosmic body, demoted from full planet status in 2006, is significantly redder than it has been for the past several decades.

The photos show a mottled world with a yellow-orange hut, but astronomers say it is 20 per cent more red than it used to be. At the same time its illuminated northern hemisphere is getting brighter, while the southern hemisphere has darkened.


How the face of Pluto changed in just two years (do you think they can blame it on global warming?)

edit on 3-12-2016 by ElectricUniverse because: add link and correct comment.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:30 PM
Isn't our solar system currently moving through a space cloud of something?
edit on 3-12-2016 by snowspirit because: (no reason given)

**probly doesn't affect anything. Some articles say the thing shouldn't exist and sounds like a recent thing, other articles say we've been going through this cloud for thousands of years already.
edit on 3-12-2016 by snowspirit because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:31 PM
a reply to: ElectricUniverse

Pluto turned more red? Interesting, maybe it is just mad it got demoted?

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:32 PM
I was thinking about Niburu and laughed a bit to/at myself. I can never fully dismiss this possibility. I possibly spent too much time in the Sumerian rabbit hole.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:33 PM
a reply to: annoyedpharmacist

lol. PLuto, turned redder and both Pluto and Charon are still inexplicably warming up.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:34 PM
definitely cool to think about. It is so cold out that far, that you woudnt think it would be solar activity and Pluto is to small for a large amount of volcanic activity over extended really, what does that leave? I have zero idea on this one.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:37 PM
It must be all the cow farts and old Chevy's on Pluto causing this.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:37 PM

originally posted by: snowspirit
Isn't our solar system currently moving through a space cloud of something?
That is sort of correct, basically a region new to us if I understand correctly... Could make things alot more interesting. Really makes me want access to the Vatican Library now more than ever.
Quick, someone remote view this region of the Kuiper Belt for us!

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:50 PM
a reply to: snowspirit

Yep, scientists have known about this interstellar cloud our solar system is moving into since at least 1978. But it was thought back then that it would take 10,000 -50,000 years for the Solar system to enter this cloud. However, more recent research suggests we might enter this cloud within the next 100 years. But it seems that we have been encountering small cloudlets which have caused many changes to the planets of the solar system.

Ribbon at edge of our solar system: Will the Sun enter a million-degree cloud of interstellar gas?

The entire solar system is also receiving more Cosmic Rays, especially X-Rays, The Solar System is Receiving Have been Increasing

Times are a changing.

edit on 3-12-2016 by ElectricUniverse because: add link and correct comment.

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 08:51 PM
a reply to: ElectricUniverse

Pluto has been acting strange in soo many ways..

I'm going to go look for a thread but I may have left it in the last timeline, haha jk, but no seriously..

Recently pluto emitting Xrays like huh? how exactly? NASA says it's from the solar wind but that the solar wind isn't strong enough to make that much xray energy... typical NASA talk.. "we know what it is, but it can't be that, but that's it yup"

Little odd aside.. I had this weird paranoid thought about pluto turning red and being the destroyer..
I don't know why I had that thought, but... Now that I know pluto is more red than before I'm like what??

I can't seem to find the thread, but it was about pluto and it's moons, and maybe their mass ratios being near perfect like 6 to 3 to 1 or whatever... it was almost perfect like that like pluto is 5.99999 the size of a moon and all of them were ratios like that? Is this ringing any bells? Or maybe their spin rates, or distances or something...

I'll go look off ATS..

it may have been something else can't quite place it, but I think it had to do with "new horizons" flyby..

edit on 3-12-2016 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 10:54 PM
a reply to: ElectricUniverse

Its coming from the fact that our science is flawed but wont admit it.

They simply dont know how planets actually work yet and their guessing sucks.

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 12:52 AM
a reply to: Reverbs

Great points. You should check out the book Quadrivium. It goes into a lot of bizarre mathematics about almost every celestial body in our solar system and how the orbital periods and ratios, masses etc are somehow very precise and even allude to platonic solids like the tetrahedron and dodecahedron.

Perhaps Pluto is actually not a planet at all. Maybe it's a....thing. aka subsurface ocean riddled with a massive "reef" if you will. Like a giant fungus reef.
edit on 4-12-2016 by OneGoal because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 02:17 AM
Even back in 2002 we knew Pluto's atmospheric pressure had triple as it was warming the more it moved away from the sun, and this had been happening for 14 years. So Pluto, and maybe even Charon have been warming since 1988, and to this day they are still warming inexplicably.

Pluto and it's moon are too small to be able to produce and maintain this heat internally. Perhaps it is time to look for an outside cause to this warming which seems to be happening in several planets in the solar system, including on Earth.

Scientists find evidence of global warming on Mars

The article above is from May 2016. Mars has also been warming since at least 2001.

Climate Change on Jupiter.
Is shrinking superstorm evidence of climate change on Jupiter?

Climate change on Saturn.

The sudden warming of Saturn at least since 2004 which NASA could not truly explain.

The inexplicable enormous storms that appeared on a normally free storm Saturn but have appeared earlier than ever before.

And now.

Hexagon on Saturn: Nasa scientists ponder colour-changing north pole

Saturn's moon Titan also undergoing warming.
Is Titan Earth's evil twin? Saturn's moon has giant dunes made of METHANE that hint at dramatic global warming

The unexpected warm temperatures of Saturn's moon Enceladus.

It is true that the composition of the atmospheres of all solar system planets are different. But isn't it too much of a coincidence that all these changes are occurring at the same time Earth is undergoing similar changes?

edit on 4-12-2016 by ElectricUniverse because: add link and correct comment.

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 03:46 AM
Maybe Pluto was struck by a reasonably large asteroid duing recent times, (last 20,000 years or so) the energy of which si still propagating through and causing other internal reactions to ramp up and cause this re-engineering of the surface.

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 03:52 AM
My guess it could be gravitational influence from Neptune, or perhaps some latent heat released when nitrogen and methane freeze out.

Important point to consider - is this heat internal or purely on the surface and in the atmosphere?

Comets have been known to warm up and show greater activity when very far away from the Sun - due to the tansition in phases of their ices. Perhaps something similar is happening on Pluto.

Pluto becoming redder (due to more tholins being created on its surface) probably means that its albedo has decreased (i.e. it became darker) which would mean it absorbs more sunlight and thus becomes warmer.

The New Scientist propose that the warming on Pluto might be due to a greenhouse effect: as it gets closer to the sun Pluto may warm enough for some of the methane ice on its surface to turn into a gas. This would cause further warming, which would continue for a while even after Pluto’s orbit starts to take it away from the Sun.

@ElectricUniverse - your presentation of the links is a bit misleading. The "unexpected warm places" discovered for example on Enceladus don't point to any climate change, they are simply places where Enceladus is warmer than anywhere else, due to whatever geological processes going on there.

It would be dishonest to take these isolated phrases out of context and try to make a "Solar System is undergoing a global warming" story out of them.
edit on 4-12-2016 by wildespace because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 07:12 AM
Must remember that in a pure vacuum of space, heat cannot transfer since there is no molecules to transfer heat energy. Pluto may have been very hot, and remains hot. When's the last time scientists studied Pluto, did they actually record temperatures on average and how did they? Is Pluto going through a recycling phase?

Question, how long will a cup of coffee stay hot in absolute space (vacuum), with zero sun?

posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 08:04 AM
it might be some very old inner layer(s) got to a certain colder temperature that it lost its internal strength.

collapsing/mixing in some parts, heating up other parts, giving it its strength back.

It could distort the balance between it and its moon slightly, causing a similar result in the moon.
The red color could be trapped pockets with stuff/gas/etc that got released during this rapid layer changing.

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