Pluto’s Icy Mountains as High as 11,000 Feet

Friday, July 17, 2015

Icy Peaks

New Horizons spacecraft which made a historic flyby of Pluto has added yet another achievement to its credit with the spacecraft beaming back images of icy mountains on the planet. The mountains near the equatorial region at the base of Pluto’s bright heart shaped feature shows it to be as high as 3,500 metres above the surface of the icy body.

These mountains are believed to be no longer than 100 million years which makes it one of the youngest surfaces in the 4.56-billion-year old solar system. Scientists by estimating the age of mountains have also claimed that the region may still be geologically active.

Another magnificent image that was beamed back to the earth by New Horizons was that of Pluto’s moon Charon. The Charon is relatively younger as it sports varied terrain. But what surprised scientists about Charon was that it lacked craters. Moreover, vast cliffs and troughs cut lines that run 960 kilometres across the moon's surface and two big canyons – one up to 9 kilometres deep have been discovered. The vehicle also beamed back images of four of its other moons – Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos. Hydra has an irregular shape and size and is estimated to be about 43 by 33 kilometres. 

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