Amazing new images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is deepening the mystery about this bizarre dwarf planet.
Have scientists found evidence of strange, icy volcanoes near the southern end of the huge “heart” covering Pluto’s surface?
New images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have finally been sent back here to Earth and they are catching the attention of scientists after they captured two peaks that are nearly 4 miles high, indicating they could be volcanoes, according to a Space.com report.
During a news conference at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in National Harbor, MD, NASA New Horizons postdoctoral researcher Oliver White called them “extraordinary features” the likes of which has never been seen in our solar system, according to the report.
New Horizons has been blowing the door wide open on the mysterious former planet of Pluto ever since it arrived at the dwarf planet in July 2015 and conducted the first close flyby. Ever since then, it has been slowly transmitting images and data as it departs the solar system, and will continue to do so for a while.
Scientists have been surprised at what they’ve found on Pluto. The geological processes on the proto-planet are a lot more active than had been expected, indicating something warm below the surface. These two giant mountains that span hundreds of miles opens up new intriguing possibilities. They’ve been named Wright Mons and Picard Mons, and each appears to have a crater like volcanoes on Earth. It’s not a guarantee that these are also volcanoes, but it’s the best current explanation.
There is another possibilities: it could have a rocky core that has been cooling solely and may have once have been heated as the dwarf planet formed. This would mean less heat that could have gradually erupted material in a volcano-like shape.