Ice Volcanoes Possibly Spotted on Pluto by NASA
The de-planetized Pluto continues to surprise scientists at NASA. The New Horizons images of Pluto’s surface reveal that two mountains may actually be cryovolcanoes, or ice volcanoes. The two large features measure tens of miles across and several miles high. What lead scientists to tentatively label the features as volcanoes is the big hole in the mountains’ summit. While the appearance is similar to volcanoes on Earth that release molten rock, ice volcanoes are thought to emit a melted substance of water ice, nitrogen, ammonia, or methane.
The New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission launched in January 2006 with the hopes of understanding worlds at the edge of the solar system. The mission recently completed a six month-long reconnaissance fly-by study of Pluto and it’s moons in summer 2015. This yielded a wealth of discoveries, including the cryovolcanoes.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Monica Cryan