Following the historic flyby of New Horizons just 48,000 miles from Pluto, images and data are still beamed back to Earth.
For such a brief moment as some have suggested, New Horizons travelled for more than nine years and 3 million miles. Yet, it is rewarding that the brief flyby is still offering a cohort of data that sheds more light on the geology of Pluto.
The newly released batch of images shows a brand new discovery. After the heart-shaped region on the dwarf planet was revealed to the public, now, we can see that a range of icy mountains borders its northwestern limit.
Tucked in the Tombaugh Region as the heart-shaped parcel was dubbed, and located between one bright and icy plain area and dark, crater-scarred area. The first group of mountains on Pluto was discovered to be as tall as 2 miles. This new range is located about 65 miles to the northwest of the previous.
The puzzle of Pluto’s surface is slowly shaping up thanks to the images snapped by New Horizons.
The bright region next to the newly discovered mountain range is known as the Sputnik Planum. This should be approximately 100 years old as it is not marked by billion year old craters. The darker region is approximated to billions of years ago as craters would suggest.
Jeff Moore, geologist at NASA Ames Research Center explained:
“There’s a complex interaction going on between the bright and the dark materials that we’re still trying to understand”.
The image revealing the new range of mountains was beamed back to the New Horizons team on July 20th.
Photo Credits ddmcdn.com