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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Pluto: stranger & stranger

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, September 10, 2015/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, adventure

Additional photography from the New Horizons fly-by of Pluto has been received from the Kuyper Belt bound probe. The images show a world that continues to astound and which gets stranger and stranger with every shot.

Regions have appeared with dark parallel banded zones like sand dunes but of unknown composition. With a thin nitrogen atmosphere, how are tiny particles produced and deposited by any method of dune formation?. Additionally, extensive equatorial landscapes of chaotic terrain may represent mountains that have collapsed by some internal geologic process from below. Vast glacial features also appear but the glaciers would be made of mixed ices of nitrogen and methane instead of water which is as hard as diamonds in the extreme cold of the minor planet..

Pluto is showing a geology and environmental processes as complicated as anything seen elsewhere before and the mechanisms are still unexplained.

               
                              Dark Bands of Potential Dune Fields, Pluto  (credit: New Horizons/NASA)
                 
               
                Chaotic Terrain of Potentially Collapsed Mountains and Glacier Scars (credit: New Horizons/NASA)

More images are schedule to be downloaded from the New Horizons memory and additional strangeness is assured if these latest photos are any indication.

WHB
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