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Snakeskin Pluto

24 Sep 2015, 22:09 UTC
Snakeskin Pluto
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New Horizons Images Continue to Dazzle
Pluto sports rounded and bizarrely textured mountains, informally named the Tartarus Dorsa, rise up along Pluto’s day-night terminator and show intricate but puzzling patterns of blue-gray ridges and reddish material in between. This viewi is rougnly 330 miles (530 kilometers) across, combines blue, red and infrared images and resolves details and colors on scales as small as 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers).Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
Okay. I am officially surprised. Pluto just got even MORE interesting than ever! Not only is it a colorful-looking icy world, but it’s got the weirdest snakeskin surface features I think I’ve ever seen. As soon as I saw this image, I thought immediately of frozen dunes.
What’s causing them? Good question.
Nobody knows.
Yet.
You can bet the New Horizons mission scientists are all over these images, trying to explain the kinds of tectonic forces or atmospheric activities that would form such fascinating features. You can see troughs cutting across snaky-looking frozen dune-like features, and some terrain that looks like giant footprints.
My best guess (and it’s only a guess) is that there’s something going on beneath the surface that is softening the ice from below. The frigid temps at the ...

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