Pluto: second icy mountain range revealed in new image

Adam Westlake - Jul 22, 2015, 12:04pm CDT
Pluto: second icy mountain range revealed in new image

Last week, NASA‘s New Horizons spacecraft gave us some up-close, detailed images of Pluto’s landscape and geology, including a look at an icy mountain range. Now, only a few days later, NASA has released another image that reveals a second mountain range, with peaks between half a mile and one mile in height. The range is located near the southwestern part of Pluto’s now famous heart-shaped spot, about 68 miles from Norgay Montes, the first mountain range that was photographed.

While the first range was estimated to be as high as 11,000 feet, this second mountain range is believed to be about half to a quarter of that height. However, NASA believes this one is much older than the first, due to the abundance of dark materials and heavily cratered landscape.

This new mountain range is right in between the icy plains now called Sputnik Planum, and the dark equatorial region. Scientists have estimated that Sputnik Planum is less than 100 million years old, while the darker regions could be an incredible billion years old.

The new photo was taken by New Horizons‘ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14th, when the spacecraft was only 48,000 miles away from the dwarf planet. The image finally made its way to Earth on July 20th, while NASA says it will be releasing more new photos from New Horizons this Friday.

SOURCE NASA


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