If you’re planning on vacationing on Pluto you may want to bring along some skis.
NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft has captured images on Pluto of what appears to be snow-covered peaks on a vast mountain range.
In Pluto’s dark Cthulhu region, named after H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional deep sea creature, snow white areas are flecked over a mountain range spread over 420 kilometres. A false-colour image of the region shows methane ice in the area leading scientists to believe the snow is also made of methane.
On Earth we are familiar with methane as a greenhouse gas but scientists believe methane has a different purpose on Pluto.
“That this material coats only the upper slopes of the peaks suggests methane ice may act like water in Earth’s atmosphere, condensing as frost at high altitude,” said John Stansberry, a New Horizons team member in a statement from NASA.
The discovery is one of many expected as New Horizons continues to relay data from the fly-by it made of the dwarf planet last year.
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