The tiny enigmatic planet has finally started to reveal its secrets, thanks to the new images that capture never before seen high detail views of the planets surface.
NASA scientists were emotional, ecstatic and excited as they announced the incredible images showing intricate details of Pluto’s surface which had mountainous ranges, but surprisingly not many craters.
“You can’t make mountains out of methane and nitrogen,” said mission scientist John Spencer. “Water ice is strong enough to hold up big mountains and that’s what we think we’re seeing here. This is the first time we’ve seen this. The methane and nitrogen are just a coating.”
An important discovery that has been made by the scientists is that Pluto appears to be geologically active despite being far from any gas giant planets.
“There is no giant body that can be deforming Pluto on an ongoing regular basis to heat the interior,” said mission principal investigator Alan Stern. “So this is telling us you don’t need tidal heating to power [change on icy worlds]. This is a really big discovery that we’ve just made.”
Pluto’s moon Charon also grabbed some of the spotlight during the press conference, showing high resolution photos of its surface, which included cliffs, canyons and troughs.
“Charon just blew our socks off when we had the new image today,” said scientist Cathy Olkin. “The team has just been abuzz. There is so much interesting science in this one image alone.”
(Images Credit: NASA)