Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The New Horizons Post-Game Show


Click the arrow to watch the media event. Video source: NASA YouTube channel.

Proudly taking dorkery to infinity and beyond, the NASA New Horizons team this afternoon held their first post-Pluto rendezvous media event to release selected images of the debatingly dwarf planet and its moon Charon.

According to a NASA press release:

A new close-up image of an equatorial region near the base of Pluto’s bright heart-shaped feature shows a mountain range with peaks jutting as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

The mountains on Pluto likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters in a 4.56-billion-year-old solar system. This suggests the close-up region, which covers about one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today ...

The new view of Charon reveals a youthful and varied terrain. Scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters. A swath of cliffs and troughs stretching about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) suggests widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely the result of internal geological processes. The image also shows a canyon estimated to be 4 to 6 miles (7 to 9 kilometers) deep. In Charon’s north polar region, the dark surface markings have a diffuse boundary, suggesting a thin deposit or stain on the surface.

The next scheduled media event is Friday July 17 at 1 PM EDT at the NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


An image near Pluto's equator shows mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet. Image source: NASA.

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