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The exploding glaciers of Pluto

18 Aug 2015, 07:12 UTC
The exploding glaciers of Pluto
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A month and a half ago the (dwarf) planet Pluto was only a dot in the eye of the Hubble Space Telescope. Now New Horizons has flown past Pluto, making the dwarf planet its first stop as it explores the Kuiper belt, and this is the result: Above: The New Horizons flyby of Pluto, revealing a strange nw world to us - and this is just the first of New Horizon's targets... Courtesy of NASA. It's an entirely new world, never seen before, so there's lots to get scientists scratching their heads. But right away something leapt out as odd in a different way - because of its very familiarity: Pluto has what looks a hell of a lot like glaciers. In case you don't pay a lot of attention to geology, glaciers a flows of ice that wind their way across very cold landscapes. For glaciers to flow - on Earth at least - a certain amount of the ice must be warm enough to contain a small amount of water.Above: A terrestrial glacier, spilling out onto a tundra plain.On Pluto all the water ice is deep, deep, frozen - as hard as rock. So for these glaciers to ...

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