It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
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 we’re 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.
What could be causing this for over a decade?
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.
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.
originally posted by: snowspirit
Isn't our solar system currently moving through a space cloud of something?