NASANew HorizonsPlutoMakes Statement

Discovers ice mountains

15 Jul, 2015

Ice Mountains of PlutoScientists share the first high-resolution images of Pluto’s surface taken by New Horizons, showing ice mountains 11,000 ft high. Pluto’s thin coating of methane, carbon monoxide and nitrogen ice on Pluto’s surface was not strong enough to form mountains — the scientist believe they are probably composed of Pluto’s water-ice bedrock

Mission scientists say the image show a terrain that had been resurfaced by some geological process – such as volcanism – within the last 100 million years.

We have not found a single impact crater on this image. This means it must be a very young surface.

This active geology needs some source of heat. Previously, such activity has only been seen on icy moons, where it can be explained by “tidal heating” caused by gravitational interactions with a large host planet.

You do not need tidal heating to power geological activity on icy worlds. That’s a really important discovery we just made this morning.

Add your comments below...