Pluto Has Snakeskin? Perplexing New Photo
NASA recently released another dazzling and high-resolution photo from Pluto's breathtaking surface, revealing mysterious rippling landscapes that resemble the uniform scales of a snake. "Unique and perplexing," the New Horizon's team is calling it, admitting they have absolutely no clue what could shape these ridges.
"It looks more like tree bark or dragon scales than geology," William McKinnon, the deputy lead of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team, said in a recent statement.
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For past discoveries revealed by the intrepid spacecraft New Horizons, researchers often could compare geological formations found on Pluto to those we see on Earth. If a formation was similar, the process that made it (weather, volcanoes, etc) would likely be just a similar.
This was the case for stunning low-lying hazes and churning icy fields seen on Pluto - fields that, while nitrogen-based, are uncannily similar to snowfall and glacial flow cycles seen at our own big blue planet's ice caps.
That's also what make's this "snakeskin" discovery a bit different. There is nothing quite like it on Earth, according to McKinnon.
"Maybe it's some combination of internal tectonic forces and ice sublimation driven by Pluto's faint sunlight," he added. "This'll really take time to figure out."
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