The spacecraft flew over Pluto and its moons in 2015. Until then, it was suspected that the area called Wright Mons were actually ice volcanoes, but only now has that been confirmed.
Pluto It is located at the edge of our solar system in the Kuiper belt. In 2006, after the International Astronomical Union redefined planets, they were relegated to the role of dwarf planet.
Due to its enormous distance from the sun and the surface Pluto frozen. The average temperature there is -232 degrees Celsius (387 degrees Fahrenheit). Pluto It is covered with glaciers, mountains and craters. It has a distinctive blue colour. However, a detailed analysis of the images revealed surprising new information.
The area where the icebergs are located volcanoes It is located southwest of the Sputnik Planitia ice sheet.
It is an impact basin over 1,000 km wide, filled with many volcanic domes. The biggest of them are called Piccard Mons And the Wright Mons. The first is about 7 km high and 225 km wide, while the second is about 5 km high and 150 km wide.
Scientists believe that the size of Wright Mons is comparable to Mauna Loa in Hawaii, one of the largest volcanoes in the world.
However, while observing this area, researchers became interested in something else, which is how these giant domes were created? Today we know the answer to this question – hmm Ice volcanoes.
According to CNN, Ice volcanoes during an eruption bring material below the surface to the surface, thus creating new terrain. These types of craters can also be observed in other parts of the solar system, but scientists believe that those on Pluto stand out the most.
“The appearance of these craters is very different from any volcanoes in the entire solar system, both ice and rock volcanoes,” explains Kelsi Singer. “They were shaped like mountains, but there are no calderas at the top and they have large irregularities on the surface,” he adds.
The world claims that Pluto’s ice volcanoes were active between 100 and 200 million years ago.
Ice volcanoes discovered on Pluto It’s surprising because so far researchers have hypothesized that a major rocky planet far from the sun has little to no internal heat needed to wake up the volcano. But it turned out to be quite different.
– This means that We don’t fully understand how planetary bodies work – Singer resides.
NASA scientists He explained to us that this process may be surprising to us and unlike the eruptions of volcanoes known to us from Earth.
The icy substance may have been a mixture of ice and water, or more like toothpaste as it flowed from the crater to the surface. Pluto – Explains Singer. – on the roof Pluto It is so cold that liquid water cannot stay there for long. In some cases, he adds, the flow of material has created the massive domes that we see as well as the rugged terrain that can be found everywhere in the area.
as you can More explosions in the future can’t be ruled out. In this case Volcanoes on Pluto They can act similarly to those on Earth – for many years when they are hibernating, they suddenly wake up, causing an explosion.
Ice volcanoes discovered on a dwarf planet It is of great importance for another reason. As CNN wrote:
Of course surely This does not mean that Pluto can be colonized, but scientists do not exclude the possibility of finding some microorganisms there in the future.
“There are still many challenges for any organisms trying to survive out there,” Kelsi Singer explains. “They will still need some solid nutrient sources, and if the volcanoes are episodic and thus vary the availability of heat and water, that can be difficult,” he adds.
New discovery on the surface of Pluto However, it has aroused the curiosity of scientists who intend to send there in the future ice penetrating radarTo do a detailed search.
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