New Pluto images reveal strange ‘snakeskin’ surface (Wired UK)

A high-resolution enhanced colour image of Pluto captured on 14 July 2015. Blues, yellows, oranges and reds combine on the dwarf planet’s complex surface. The image reveals details on scales as small as 0.8 miles (1.3km)


The latest batch of Pluto images from Nasa’s New Horizons mission have revealed previously unseen topographic details on the strange, icy world.

A new, high-resolution enhanced colour image of Pluto shows the remarkable range of colours on its surface (above). From blues to yellows, oranges and deep reds, it reveals a complex world with details as small as 0.8 miles (1.3km) clearly visible. A high resolution version can be viewed by clicking here.

This extended colour image of Pluto shows strangely textured mountains on the edge of Pluto’s day-night divide. The view is roughly 330 miles (530km) across


In one image, which Nasa has likened to snakeskin, the surface of Pluto is shown near the line separating day and night, revealing an epic landscape of aligned ridges (above, right).

“It’s a unique and perplexing landscape stretching over hundreds of miles,” said William McKinnon, deputy lead of the New Horizons geology, geophysics and imaging team from Washington University in St. Louis. “This’ll really take time to figure out; maybe it’s some combination of internal tectonic forces and ice sublimation driven by Pluto’s faint sunlight.”

This enhanced, extended colour image of Pluto shows the remarkable variations and details on the dwarf planet’s surface


As well as the new “snakeskin” image, New Horizons has also sent back some of the most high-resolution images to date. In an “extended colour” view of Pluto (above), downlinked to Earth on 19 September, the rich and varied colour palette of the dwarf planet is clearly on display.

While the image has been enhanced to reveal subtle details in Pluto’s palette, there are clear signs of colours ranging from blue to orange, yellow and deep red. Colours vary by region, suggestion complex geology and regional climates.

This high-resolution image captured details as small as 250 meters across. Craters and faulted mountain blocks can be clearly seen


A high-resolution image taken by New Horizons’ narrow-angle Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), downlinked in 20 September, shows just how complex Pluto’s geology is (above/right). The mosaic of images, the highest resolution of Pluto yet, shows dune-like features on the shoreline of a retreating glacier, with rugged water ice mountains and sheer cliffs.

On the left, the amount of methane ice varies by region. Stronger methane absorption is shown in brighter purple, lower abundances in black. Data is only available for the left half of Pluto. On the right, the methane data has been mapped onto an image of Pluto


New data about the distribution of methane ice on Pluto’s surface has also revealed puzzling contrasts (above). The informally named Sputnik Planum is abundant in methane, while the Cthulhu Regio shows very little. Across Pluto, methane appears to favour brighter areas, but it isn’t yet clear if that’s because methane is more likely to condense there or if its presence in those regions causes brightness.

If the article suppose to have a video or a photo gallery and it does not appear on your screen, please Click Here

24 September 2015 | 9:37 pm – Source:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.