The possibility that Charon was born from Pluto by fission was raised soon after Charon’s discovery. Now that the New Horizons mission has given us a close look at their surfaces, global surface features on both bodies appear to confirm the fission hypothesis. Pluto’s surface features are underlain by global parallel bands that I interpret […]Read more "The Pluto – Charon Binary Likely Formed by Fission"
They say that the human eye is very good at detecting patterns. When the first high resolution mosaic images of the full disk of Pluto were released I got a strong impression that there were a series of diagonal but parallel lines across it. The impression is particularly strong in this collection of the individual […]Read more "Pluto’s Subtle Global Stripes: Key to Charon’s Origin"
1. The movement of soft ices in convection cells is carrying warm ice onto Pluto’s surface. This ice evaporates while moving to the edge of each cell, supplying Pluto’s atmosphere with nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. At the edge of each cell the soft ice, now cold, is subducted back into Pluto’s interior. The methane […]Read more "Pluto: The Big Picture – Convection, Evaporation, Flooding, Global Banding & Rotational Fission"
To Sputnik Planum’s story To “Pluto: The Big Picture” The jagged mountain ranges along Sputnik Planum’s western shore, from al-Idrisi Montes to Norgay Montes, are made of fragments of Pluto’s crust. A section of crust was shattered and the pieces were washed up on the shore by an icy tsunami. At first sight Baré Montes […]Read more "Pluto’s 130 km wide iceberg (actually it’s a ‘crust-berg’)"
Back to “Pluto: The Big Picture” To the story of Sputnik Planum Looking like giant paving stones that have been ripped up and dumped, these slabs were once part of a crust that covered the ices of the Sputnik Planum. They are around 3 miles thick and up to 20 miles wide. They now form […]Read more "20 Mile Long Slabs of Crust Stacked like Flagstones in a Dump"
Back to “Pluto: The Big Picture” The darker tone of the northern third of Sputnik Planum, where the glacial front is flowing northward is clear in this false (greatly exaggerated) color view. While the landscape is presently being flooded with a tsunami of ice in the north of Sputnik Planum, in the south ice appears […]Read more "Pluto’s Cycles of Glacial Flood and Retreat"
Back to “Pluto: The Big Picture” Go to the full story of Pluto’s Cryovolcanism The ice tsunami In the north of Sputnik Planum ice appears to be flowing onto ancient terrain, along with its irregular polygon shapes. [Note that it’s not yet clear whether the ice of Sputnik Planum is predominantly frozen methane or nitrogen]. […]Read more "Glacial Floods Push Down Pluto’s Crust"