Space & Astronomy
Pluto images continue to baffle and intrigue
By T.K. Randall
September 11, 2015 · 16 comments
Image showing an icy plain on Pluto known as Sputnik Planum. Image Credit: NASA
Recent photographs from New Horizons have revealed Pluto's surface in more detail than ever before.
Despite predictions that this distant, icy world would be a desolate place with little surface features of note, Pluto has turned out to be one of the most feature-rich bodies in the entire solar system.
"Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we've seen in the solar system," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern.
"If an artist had painted this Pluto before our fly-by, I probably would have called it over the top - but that's what is actually there."
Some of the new photographs have even revealed what look like windswept dunes on its surface.
"Seeing dunes on Pluto – if that is what they are – would be completely wild, because Pluto's atmosphere today is so thin," said William B McKinnon from Washington University.
"Either Pluto had a thicker atmosphere in the past, or some process we haven't figured out is at work. It's a head-scratcher."
Source: The Guardian
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