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Space & Astronomy

Flowing ice and a red haze found on Pluto

By T.K. Randall
July 25, 2015 · Comment icon 96 comments



A recent color image of Pluto showing the planet in unprecedented detail. Image Credit: NASA
New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern has referred to the planet as a 'scientific wonderland'.
As the data from New Horizons continues to slowly stream back to Earth scientists have been revealing more about what they've managed to find so far on Pluto and its moon Charon.

At a recent press conference the team announced that they had discovered flows of nitrogen ice moving and spreading across the plains at the edge of the planet's distinct heart-shaped region.

The ice appears to flow in much the same way as glaciers do on Earth and could go a long way to explaining some of the processes that have been recently reshaping Pluto's surface.
It is thought that these flows may be forming thanks to heat leaking from the planet's interior.

In addition to these discoveries the New Horizons team also took great pleasure in revealing that they had identified a haze of small particles extending 100 miles above the surface - a find that will force them to "basically start from scratch" with regard to what is currently known of Pluto's atmosphere.

The haze is thought to be responsible for the planet's reddish hue however much more research will be needed to determine exactly what it is made up of and how it came to be there.

There are even tentative hints that Pluto, like Europa, may also be home to a subterranean ocean.

Source: Irish Times | Comments (96)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #87 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
It will take more than a year just to download all the images and data from New Horizons, so it is unrealistic to expect answers in days.
Comment icon #88 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
Oh - ok - thanks. Patience is a virtue I suppose.
Comment icon #89 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
I have been wondering if scientists have figured out yet - what those dark patches/spots were along Pluto's equator ? New Horizons closest flyby was back on 14th July - I have tried to find some info - but my PC is very slow atm - it's like pulling teeth. Does anybody know anything ? Cheers.. Run Malwarebytes free version and get rid of some of the likely malware https://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/
Comment icon #90 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
Thanks heaps Merc. I ran the malware - but no nasties were detected. Seems the signal on the Wi-Fi connection was weak which were slowing things down. So I rebooted the router - and the PC - and I have a stronger signal now
Comment icon #91 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
Thanks heaps Merc. I ran the malware - but no nasties were detected. Seems the signal on the Wi-Fi connection was weak which were slowing things down. So I rebooted the router - and the PC - and I have a stronger signal now You did exactly what I would've suggested except for one thing, pull the power plugs on both the router and the modem and turn off the computer. Then return power to the modem, let it settle in, then power up the router, let it settle in and then turn the computer back on. PM me if you that doesn't help
Comment icon #92 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
Can we please get back on topic.This really is not the place to be discussing computer problems (unless the computer happens to be on a space craft ). Thank you.
Comment icon #93 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
Can we please get back on topic.This really is not the place to be discussing computer problems (unless the computer happens to be on a space craft ). Thank you. My fault.
Comment icon #94 Posted by FTWind 7 years ago
Waspie what would u say on the chances of multi celled organisms livng in these theorized subsurface oceans on these outer objects
Comment icon #95 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
Waspie what would u say on the chances of multi celled organisms livng in these theorized subsurface oceans on these outer objects If the greatest biologists and planetary scientists on Earth don't have the vaguest idea what the answer to that is (and they really don't) then why should an ex-chemist like myself? Anyone that gives you an answer to this is taking a wild guess. Science doesn't deal in wild guesses.
Comment icon #96 Posted by FTWind 7 years ago
In all fai rness Waspie I've been readin everyone's comments on every topic for years in this website and of all I repect yours the most


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