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New Horizons images reveal a young Pluto surface
Posted: Sat, Jul 18, 2015, 10:56 AM ET (1456 GMT)
New Horizons image of Sputnik Planum on Pluto (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI) Images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby of Pluto July 14 show that parts of the surface are surprisingly young, suggesting recent geological activity there. Images released Friday of a plain dubbed Sputnik Planum show a series of irregular polygons surrounded by shallow troughs. Scientists believe the terrain must be very young, given the lack of impact craters, and could be formed by convection below the surface or contraction of the surface. Other data from the spacecraft showed that the only concentration of carbon monoxide ice on the surface is within the heart-shaped region called Tombaugh Regio. Scientists also released the first image of Nix, one of Pluto's smaller moons, revealing it to be elongated. Project scientists said they will be releasing images on a weekly basis going forward, with the spacecraft taking up to 16 months to return all the data it collected.
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