August 9, 2022


Pin It

plutocolorVivid new photo of Pluto in rainbow light is totally psychedelic, dude

By Miriam Kramer From Mashable

A psychedelic new image of Pluto is enough to make a space nerd’s day — or even her week.

A newly released photo shows a false-color view of Pluto as captured by New Horizons during its close flyby with the dwarf planet in July. The exaggerated colors are used by scientists to “highlight the many subtle color differences between Pluto’s distinct regions,” according to a NASA statement.

The photo was taken when New Horizons was about 22,000 miles from the surface of the dwarf planet on July 14. (Later that day, the craft passed about 7,750 miles from the world’s surface during its closest approach.)

plutovolcanoesEarlier this week, NASA announced that scientists working with New Horizons have found what could be two ice volcanoes — one unofficially named Wright, the other Piccard — that may have been active in the recent past on Pluto’s surface.

“These are big mountains with a large hole in their summit, and on Earth that generally means one thing — a volcano,” Oliver White, New Horizons postdoctoral researcher, said in a statement. “If they are volcanic, then the summit depression would likely have formed via collapse as material is erupted from underneath.”

These possible volcanoes on Pluto wouldn’t necessarily spew out molten rock like they do on Earth. Instead, the cryovolcanoes would have erupted with methane, water ice, ammonia or nitrogen, NASA said.

This mountain finding is another clue along NASA’s long road to figuring out why exactly Pluto looks the way it does. It’s possible that, if these mountains are ice volcanoes, they could have helped to reshape the dwarf planet’s surface in the relatively recent geological past.

Scientists were shocked to see that Pluto wasn’t just a cratered, icy ball when New Horizons flew past the dwarf planet. Instead, Pluto seems to have the markers of a body that has been geologically active in the recent past.

“After all, nothing like this has been seen in the deep outer solar system,” Jeffrey Moore, New Horizons scientists, said in the statement.

Two possible ice volcanoes on Pluto’s surface. IMAGE: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
A false-color view of Pluto. IMAGE: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRIF

For more on this story go to:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About ieyenews

Speak Your Mind