Newest Pluto pictures show jumbled mountains, possible dunes

NASA says: "This synthetic perspective view of Pluto, based on the latest high-resolution images to be downlinked from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, shows what you would see if you were approximately 1,100 miles above Pluto’s equatorial area, looking northeast over the dark, cratered, informally named Cthulhu Regio toward the bright, smooth, expanse of icy plains informally called Sputnik Planum." NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The spigot has opened again, and Pluto pictures are pouring in once more from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. These newest snapshots reveal an even more diverse landscape than scientists imagined before New Horizons swept past Pluto in July.

PHOTOS: NASA shares new Pluto images

In one picture, dark ancient craters border much younger icy plains. Dark ridges also are visible, and some scientists speculate they might be dunes. One outer solar-system geologist says if the ridges are, in fact, dunes, that would be “wild” given Pluto’s thin atmosphere. The jumble of mountains may be huge blocks of ice floating in a softer, vast deposit of frozen nitrogen.

After several weeks of collecting engineering data from New Horizons, scientists started getting fresh Pluto pictures last weekend. The latest images were released Thursday.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s