There are no active ads.

Advertisement

NASA reveals incredible image of Pluto’s frozen canyons

by Brandon Russell | February 26, 2016February 26, 2016 9:00 am PST

We already know Pluto features a surprisingly complex geology, but data returned by New Horizons still continues to stump scientists.

In a new image shared by NASA on Thursday, the agency revealed a strangely captivating scene of Pluto’s north pole, revealing an impressive amount of canyons and pits. NASA says that many of the canyons, which run vertically across the polar area, suggest the planet once experienced a period of tectonics.

The image in the gallery above provides a color-coded view of just how complex these geological features are. Here’s what NASA had to say:

The widest of the canyons (yellow) is about 45 miles (75 kilometers) wide and run close to the north pole. Roughly parallel subsidiary canyons to the east and west (in green) are approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. The degraded walls of these canyons appear to be much older than the more sharply defined canyon systems elsewhere on Pluto, perhaps because the polar canyons are older and made of weaker material.

NASA added that scientists are perplexed by Pluto’s higher elevations, which show up in the unedited image as a distinctive yellow. Apparently these higher elevations aren’t seen anywhere else on the planet, and could correspond to older methane deposits.

The image was taken at a range of approximately 21,100 miles during New Horizons’ flyby this past summer, according to NASA.

More space...

NASA has released a breathtaking new Pluto panorama

Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto in July, NASA’s New Horizons captured what is now the most beautiful image of the dwarf planet. And that’s saying a lot, because the courageous spacecraft has also sent back some truly spectacular pictures—my favorite is this silhouette after New Horizons successfully made its historic flyby. […]

Amazing Pluto image reveals massive icy mountains

NASA on Wednesday released the first high resolution close-up image of Pluto, revealing a small region of massive icy mountains. It is, in a word, stunning. And it’s getting a lot of interesting reactions from the scientific community, not only about Pluto itself, but how we think about icy worlds in our solar system. Now that NASA’s […]

Experience what it would be like to fly by Pluto in this amazing video

NASA’s New Horizons provided some phenomenal photos of Pluto last month, and there’s still plenty more information to come from the industrious spacecraft. But until that information is beamed back over the next several months, why not ride shotgun and re-live the historic flyby? Using the images taken by New Horizons and some enviable imaging […]

Gorgeous images reveal Pluto’s “snakeskin” surface

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft continues to amaze with a handful of new photos that provide us with an incredibly detailed look at Pluto’s “snakeskin” surface. The spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet all the way back on July 14, but it’s still slowly sending back heaps of information, and will continue to do so […]

NASA discovers “floating hills” on Pluto

NASA on Thursday revealed another amazing Pluto factoid: the planet appears to have floating hills, or icebergs. The agency said the icebergs are floating in a vast sea of frozen nitrogen at Sputnik Planum, which rests within the planet’s “heart.” “The hills are likely fragments of the rugged uplands that have broken away and are […]

NASA

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement