New images released taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft indicate two of Pluto’s most distinctive mountains could be cryovolcanoes.
IN SPACE (RECENT) (NASA) – NASA released more photos of Pluto on Monday (November 09) taken by their New Horizons spacecraft. The new photos reveal that two of Pluto’s most distinctive mountains could be cryovolcanoes, ice volcanoes that may have been active in the recent past, according to NASA.
The two cryovolcano candidates, informally named Wright Mons and Piccard Mons, are large features measuring tens of miles across and several miles high. According to a statement released by NASA, “while their appearance is similar to volcanoes on Earth that spew molten rock, ice volcanoes on Pluto are expected to emit a melted slurry of substances such as water ice, nitrogen, ammonia, or methane. If Pluto proves to have volcanoes, it will provide an important new clue to its geologic and atmospheric evolution.”
NASA combined images of Pluto’s surface to make 3-D maps, better enabling them to study the possible cryovolcanoes.
New Horizons was launched in 2006 and made a six-month-long reconnaissance flyby study of Pluto and its moons in summer 2015.