That was borne out by a lack of a single impact crater on the surface in the image, the scientist said. That means that region of the planet may still be geo-logically active today.
A close up of Pluto’s surface.
At a briefing held Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., mission scientists said they were stunned by what the images reveal.
You can see it in the upper left corner of the inset in the image above. Some of the first photographs are revealing unbelievable things about the solar system’s most distant celestial body. Now, as NASA is receiving more and more data taken by the New Horizons, we’re getting the chance to look at more and more detailed pictures of Charon; one of them in particular has sparked researchers’ interest.
A new close-up image of a region near Pluto’s equator reveals a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 3,500 metres above the surface of the icy body, in a picture released by NASA.
Instead, New Horizons said the surface of Pluto has somehow been refreshed and the activity may be tied to an underground ocean, ice volcanoes or other geologic phenomenon that gives off heat.
“Who would have supposed that there were ice mountains?” project scientist Hal Weaver said.
Scientists react to seeing photos from the flyby.
Alan Stern, the mission’s chief scientist commented: “We now have an isolated, small planet that’s showing activity after 4.5 billion years”. “I can add that Charon did not disappoint either”, Olkin said.
Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, has also been brought into focus.
And we got our first-ever image of one of them – Hydra.
“We’ve known so little about it since it was discovered in 1930”, said planetarium director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. Or it could be coming from energy released by the gradual freezing of an underground ocean.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft also observed the smaller members of the Pluto system, which includes four other moons: Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos. It’s not as clear as the Charon photo, since it was farther away from the New Horizons spacecraft.
“Pluto didn’t turn out to be a relatively featureless planet with a foggy nitrogen rich atmosphere as was expected”. It is now 1 million miles beyond it.