Scientists are baffled over details in the photographs of Pluto's surface. They found signs that there is geological activity on the dwarf planet.
Scientists are now studying the images transmitted from the spacecraft New Horizon.
- We had no idea that Pluto had such a young geological surface. It's a lovely surprise, says Alan Stern, head of the researchers at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
In a region on the dwarf planet named after the Soviet satellite Sputnik, the terrain is broken up into polygonal fields. The edges of the areas, which are of 20 to 30 kilometers, are filled with a darker material and bumps.
Researchers believe this may be proof that the surface raises up because of a slight heating from below the surface. Alternatively, the explanation could be cooling and contraction due to evaporation into the atmosphere, not unlike what we see when mud cracks.
The images of Pluto shows that the landscape is riddled with craters, while other areas are totally crater-less and thus obviously younger.
The new close-up view of the area north of the Tombaugh Region ("Heart") shows a crater-less area not more than 100 million years old and probably still active.
In the area there is a large proportion of carbon monoxide. Scientists are not sure where it comes from, but there might be a source there. Pluto has a very complex conformation. Some craters are partially destroyed, probably as a result of different processes.
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