Pluto Wears Snakeskin And Intense Colors

Posted: Sep 25 2015, 6:47am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 26 2015, 6:55pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Pluto wears Snakeskin and Intense Colors

Pluto, as it turns out, is quite the fashion victim. The newest NASA hi-res photos reveal unseen features of the dwarf planet.

NASA is not running out of breath taking images of Pluto. They keep on coming. New Horizons will continue to download data from its fly-by for a long time. NASA has released two new close-up photos of Pluto that reveal unseen features of Pluto's surface.

The most intriguing is the snakeskin like area shown above. The image shows an area near the line that separates day from night. The vast rippling landscape of strange, aligned linear ridges has surprised the New Horizons team members.

“It’s a unique and perplexing landscape stretching over hundreds of miles,” said William McKinnon, New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team deputy lead from Washington University in St. Louis. “It looks more like tree bark or dragon scales than geology. This’ll really take time to figure out; maybe it’s some combination of internal tectonic forces and ice sublimation driven by Pluto’s faint sunlight.”

Besides the new Pluto snakeskin photo of Pluto’s surface, New Horizons sent back the highest-resolution color view yet of Pluto.

Pluto Color

NASA’s New Horizons captured the above high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC).

Pluto’s surface shows off a rather wide range of subtle colors. NASA enhanced this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds.

Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode. The image resolves details and colors on scales as small as 0.8 miles. 

NASA also published the sharpest image yet of Pluto's terrain. The image below is revealing details down to scales of 270 meters. The textured surface of the plain surrounds two isolated ice mountains.

Pluto Terrain

Via the NASA New Horizons mission page. Image Credits: Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
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