Why it snows on Pluto’s mountains Space

Why it snows on Pluto’s mountains

In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snow-covered mountains on Pluto that are strikingly similar to the mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed anywhere else in the solar system. However, there is one major difference: On Earth, atmospheric temperatures decrease with altitude. On Pluto, however, they increase with altitude due to the sun's radiation. So where does this ice come from? An international team of researchers has now investigated this. The scientists first discovered that the "snow" on the mountains of Pluto is actually frozen methane, with traces of this gas in…
Gas-hydrate layer keeps Pluto’s ocean warm Space

Gas-hydrate layer keeps Pluto’s ocean warm

In 2015, the dwarf planet, Pluto, received its first visitor from Earth. NASA’s New Horizons probe sent back spectacular images that showed, among other things, the “heart” of Pluto – a region named Tombaugh Regio consisting of, among other things, the unusually light-colored Sputnik Planitia. This is a plain that is up to one to nine kilometers deep, covers approximately the surface area of Texas, and is coated with nitrogen ice. From its existence, researchers could already assume a few things – among other things, there is probably a liquid ocean under Pluto’s surface, like the kind that also exists…
Dwarf planet Pluto – a gigantic comet? Space

Dwarf planet Pluto – a gigantic comet?

Researchers from the Southwest Research Institute in the USA have put forward an exciting theory in the journal Icarus. The scientists have tried to assemble a model for the formation of the dwarf planet Pluto. Here they have looked in particular at the nitrogen-rich Sputnik Planitia basin that is covered by a gigantic glacier made from frozen nitrogen. They combined this data with results from the Rosetta probe that studied the comet 67P. Their findings: the nitrogen content fits well with the theory that Pluto is a conglomeration of approximately one billion (!) comets or other similar Kuiper Belt…