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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2016-03-19
    Description: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has revealed the complex geology of Pluto and Charon. Pluto's encounter hemisphere shows ongoing surface geological activity centered on a vast basin containing a thick layer of volatile ices that appears to be involved in convection and advection, with a crater retention age no greater than ~10 million years. Surrounding terrains show active glacial flow, apparent transport and rotation of large buoyant water-ice crustal blocks, and pitting, the latter likely caused by sublimation erosion and/or collapse. More enigmatic features include tall mounds with central depressions that are conceivably cryovolcanic and ridges with complex bladed textures. Pluto also has ancient cratered terrains up to ~4 billion years old that are extensionally faulted and extensively mantled and perhaps eroded by glacial or other processes. Charon does not appear to be currently active, but experienced major extensional tectonism and resurfacing (probably cryovolcanic) nearly 4 billion years ago. Impact crater populations on Pluto and Charon are not consistent with the steepest impactor size-frequency distributions proposed for the Kuiper belt.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Moore, Jeffrey M -- McKinnon, William B -- Spencer, John R -- Howard, Alan D -- Schenk, Paul M -- Beyer, Ross A -- Nimmo, Francis -- Singer, Kelsi N -- Umurhan, Orkan M -- White, Oliver L -- Stern, S Alan -- Ennico, Kimberly -- Olkin, Cathy B -- Weaver, Harold A -- Young, Leslie A -- Binzel, Richard P -- Buie, Marc W -- Buratti, Bonnie J -- Cheng, Andrew F -- Cruikshank, Dale P -- Grundy, Will M -- Linscott, Ivan R -- Reitsema, Harold J -- Reuter, Dennis C -- Showalter, Mark R -- Bray, Veronica J -- Chavez, Carrie L -- Howett, Carly J A -- Lauer, Tod R -- Lisse, Carey M -- Parker, Alex Harrison -- Porter, S B -- Robbins, Stuart J -- Runyon, Kirby -- Stryk, Ted -- Throop, Henry B -- Tsang, Constantine C C -- Verbiscer, Anne J -- Zangari, Amanda M -- Chaikin, Andrew L -- Wilhelms, Don E -- New Horizons Science Team -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):1284-93. doi: 10.1126/science.aad7055.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. jeff.moore@nasa.gov. ; Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. ; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX 77058, USA. ; The SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. ; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91019, USA. ; Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA. ; Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. ; The SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. ; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. ; National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA. ; Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA. ; Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. ; Independent Science Writer, Arlington, VT 05250, USA. ; U.S. Geological Survey, Retired, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26989245" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-03-19
    Description: The New Horizons mission has provided resolved measurements of Pluto's moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. All four are small, with equivalent spherical diameters of ~40 kilometers for Nix and Hydra and ~10 kilometers for Styx and Kerberos. They are also highly elongated, with maximum to minimum axis ratios of ~2. All four moons have high albedos (~50 to 90%) suggestive of a water-ice surface composition. Crater densities on Nix and Hydra imply surface ages of at least 4 billion years. The small moons rotate much faster than synchronous, with rotational poles clustered nearly orthogonal to the common pole directions of Pluto and Charon. These results reinforce the hypothesis that the small moons formed in the aftermath of a collision that produced the Pluto-Charon binary.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Weaver, H A -- Buie, M W -- Buratti, B J -- Grundy, W M -- Lauer, T R -- Olkin, C B -- Parker, A H -- Porter, S B -- Showalter, M R -- Spencer, J R -- Stern, S A -- Verbiscer, A J -- McKinnon, W B -- Moore, J M -- Robbins, S J -- Schenk, P -- Singer, K N -- Barnouin, O S -- Cheng, A F -- Ernst, C M -- Lisse, C M -- Jennings, D E -- Lunsford, A W -- Reuter, D C -- Hamilton, D P -- Kaufmann, D E -- Ennico, K -- Young, L A -- Beyer, R A -- Binzel, R P -- Bray, V J -- Chaikin, A L -- Cook, J C -- Cruikshank, D P -- Dalle Ore, C M -- Earle, A M -- Gladstone, G R -- Howett, C J A -- Linscott, I R -- Nimmo, F -- Parker, J Wm -- Philippe, S -- Protopapa, S -- Reitsema, H J -- Schmitt, B -- Stryk, T -- Summers, M E -- Tsang, C C C -- Throop, H H B -- White, O L -- Zangari, A M -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):aae0030. doi: 10.1126/science.aae0030.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. hal.weaver@jhuapl.edu. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA. ; Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA. ; National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 26732, USA. ; SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. ; Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. ; Space Science Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX 77058, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. ; SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. Space Science Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. ; Independent science writer, Arlington, VT, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA. ; Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. ; University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. ; Universite Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, F-38000 Grenoble, France. ; Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA. ; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA. ; Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26989256" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-10-17
    Description: The Pluto system was recently explored by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, making closest approach on 14 July 2015. Pluto's surface displays diverse landforms, terrain ages, albedos, colors, and composition gradients. Evidence is found for a water-ice crust, geologically young surface units, surface ice convection, wind streaks, volatile transport, and glacial flow. Pluto's atmosphere is highly extended, with trace hydrocarbons, a global haze layer, and a surface pressure near 10 microbars. Pluto's diverse surface geology and long-term activity raise fundamental questions about how small planets remain active many billions of years after formation. Pluto's large moon Charon displays tectonics and evidence for a heterogeneous crustal composition; its north pole displays puzzling dark terrain. Small satellites Hydra and Nix have higher albedos than expected.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Stern, S A -- Bagenal, F -- Ennico, K -- Gladstone, G R -- Grundy, W M -- McKinnon, W B -- Moore, J M -- Olkin, C B -- Spencer, J R -- Weaver, H A -- Young, L A -- Andert, T -- Andrews, J -- Banks, M -- Bauer, B -- Bauman, J -- Barnouin, O S -- Bedini, P -- Beisser, K -- Beyer, R A -- Bhaskaran, S -- Binzel, R P -- Birath, E -- Bird, M -- Bogan, D J -- Bowman, A -- Bray, V J -- Brozovic, M -- Bryan, C -- Buckley, M R -- Buie, M W -- Buratti, B J -- Bushman, S S -- Calloway, A -- Carcich, B -- Cheng, A F -- Conard, S -- Conrad, C A -- Cook, J C -- Cruikshank, D P -- Custodio, O S -- Dalle Ore, C M -- Deboy, C -- Dischner, Z J B -- Dumont, P -- Earle, A M -- Elliott, H A -- Ercol, J -- Ernst, C M -- Finley, T -- Flanigan, S H -- Fountain, G -- Freeze, M J -- Greathouse, T -- Green, J L -- Guo, Y -- Hahn, M -- Hamilton, D P -- Hamilton, S A -- Hanley, J -- Harch, A -- Hart, H M -- Hersman, C B -- Hill, A -- Hill, M E -- Hinson, D P -- Holdridge, M E -- Horanyi, M -- Howard, A D -- Howett, C J A -- Jackman, C -- Jacobson, R A -- Jennings, D E -- Kammer, J A -- Kang, H K -- Kaufmann, D E -- Kollmann, P -- Krimigis, S M -- Kusnierkiewicz, D -- Lauer, T R -- Lee, J E -- Lindstrom, K L -- Linscott, I R -- Lisse, C M -- Lunsford, A W -- Mallder, V A -- Martin, N -- McComas, D J -- McNutt, R L Jr -- Mehoke, D -- Mehoke, T -- Melin, E D -- Mutchler, M -- Nelson, D -- Nimmo, F -- Nunez, J I -- Ocampo, A -- Owen, W M -- Paetzold, M -- Page, B -- Parker, A H -- Parker, J W -- Pelletier, F -- Peterson, J -- Pinkine, N -- Piquette, M -- Porter, S B -- Protopapa, S -- Redfern, J -- Reitsema, H J -- Reuter, D C -- Roberts, J H -- Robbins, S J -- Rogers, G -- Rose, D -- Runyon, K -- Retherford, K D -- Ryschkewitsch, M G -- Schenk, P -- Schindhelm, E -- Sepan, B -- Showalter, M R -- Singer, K N -- Soluri, M -- Stanbridge, D -- Steffl, A J -- Strobel, D F -- Stryk, T -- Summers, M E -- Szalay, J R -- Tapley, M -- Taylor, A -- Taylor, H -- Throop, H B -- Tsang, C C C -- Tyler, G L -- Umurhan, O M -- Verbiscer, A J -- Versteeg, M H -- Vincent, M -- Webbert, R -- Weidner, S -- Weigle, G E 2nd -- White, O L -- Whittenburg, K -- Williams, B G -- Williams, K -- Williams, S -- Woods, W W -- Zangari, A M -- Zirnstein, E -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2015 Oct 16;350(6258):aad1815. doi: 10.1126/science.aad1815.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. astern@boulder.swri.edu. ; Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. ; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 28510, USA. ; Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA. ; Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; Universitat der Bundeswehr Munchen, Neubiberg 85577, Germany. ; Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA. ; KinetX Aerospace, Tempe, AZ 85284, USA. ; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011, USA. ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; University of Bonn, Bonn D-53113, Germany. ; NASA Headquarters (retired), Washington, DC 20546, USA. ; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. ; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. ; NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, USA. ; Rheinisches Institut fur Umweltforschung an der Universitat zu Koln, Cologne 50931, Germany. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. ; Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. ; Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. ; National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 26732, USA. ; NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA. ; Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. ; Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA. ; University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. ; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX 77058, USA. ; Michael Soluri Photography, New York, NY 10014, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA. ; Roane State Community College, Jamestown, TN 38556, USA. ; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26472913" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2016-03-19
    Description: Observations made during the New Horizons flyby provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of Pluto's atmosphere. Whereas the lower atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 200 kilometers) is consistent with ground-based stellar occultations, the upper atmosphere is much colder and more compact than indicated by pre-encounter models. Molecular nitrogen (N2) dominates the atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 1800 kilometers or so), whereas methane (CH4), acetylene (C2H2), ethylene (C2H4), and ethane (C2H6) are abundant minor species and likely feed the production of an extensive haze that encompasses Pluto. The cold upper atmosphere shuts off the anticipated enhanced-Jeans, hydrodynamic-like escape of Pluto's atmosphere to space. It is unclear whether the current state of Pluto's atmosphere is representative of its average state--over seasonal or geologic time scales.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Gladstone, G Randall -- Stern, S Alan -- Ennico, Kimberly -- Olkin, Catherine B -- Weaver, Harold A -- Young, Leslie A -- Summers, Michael E -- Strobel, Darrell F -- Hinson, David P -- Kammer, Joshua A -- Parker, Alex H -- Steffl, Andrew J -- Linscott, Ivan R -- Parker, Joel Wm -- Cheng, Andrew F -- Slater, David C -- Versteeg, Maarten H -- Greathouse, Thomas K -- Retherford, Kurt D -- Throop, Henry -- Cunningham, Nathaniel J -- Woods, William W -- Singer, Kelsi N -- Tsang, Constantine C C -- Schindhelm, Eric -- Lisse, Carey M -- Wong, Michael L -- Yung, Yuk L -- Zhu, Xun -- Curdt, Werner -- Lavvas, Panayotis -- Young, Eliot F -- Tyler, G Leonard -- New Horizons Science Team -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):aad8866. doi: 10.1126/science.aad8866.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA. University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA. rgladstone@swri.edu. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA. ; The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA. ; Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. ; Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA. University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA. ; Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE 68504, USA. ; California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. ; Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany. ; Groupe de Spectroscopie Moleculaire et Atmospherique, Universite Reims Champagne-Ardenne, 51687 Reims, France.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26989258" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2016-03-19
    Description: The New Horizons spacecraft mapped colors and infrared spectra across the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon. The volatile methane, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen ices that dominate Pluto's surface have complicated spatial distributions resulting from sublimation, condensation, and glacial flow acting over seasonal and geological time scales. Pluto's water ice "bedrock" was also mapped, with isolated outcrops occurring in a variety of settings. Pluto's surface exhibits complex regional color diversity associated with its distinct provinces. Charon's color pattern is simpler, dominated by neutral low latitudes and a reddish northern polar region. Charon's near-infrared spectra reveal highly localized areas with strong ammonia absorption tied to small craters with relatively fresh-appearing impact ejecta.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Grundy, W M -- Binzel, R P -- Buratti, B J -- Cook, J C -- Cruikshank, D P -- Dalle Ore, C M -- Earle, A M -- Ennico, K -- Howett, C J A -- Lunsford, A W -- Olkin, C B -- Parker, A H -- Philippe, S -- Protopapa, S -- Quirico, E -- Reuter, D C -- Schmitt, B -- Singer, K N -- Verbiscer, A J -- Beyer, R A -- Buie, M W -- Cheng, A F -- Jennings, D E -- Linscott, I R -- Parker, J Wm -- Schenk, P M -- Spencer, J R -- Stansberry, J A -- Stern, S A -- Throop, H B -- Tsang, C C C -- Weaver, H A -- Weigle, G E 2nd -- Young, L A -- New Horizons Science Team -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):aad9189. doi: 10.1126/science.aad9189.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA. w.grundy@lowell.edu. ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; NASA Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. ; NASA Ames Research Center, Space Science Division, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA. Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. ; Universite Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, F-38000 Grenoble, France. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. ; Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. ; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX 77058, USA. ; Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA. ; Planetary Science Institute, Mumbai, India. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 28510, USA.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26989260" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2016-03-19
    Description: The New Horizons spacecraft carried three instruments that measured the space environment near Pluto as it flew by on 14 July 2015. The Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument revealed an interaction region confined sunward of Pluto to within about 6 Pluto radii. The region's surprisingly small size is consistent with a reduced atmospheric escape rate, as well as a particularly high solar wind flux. Observations from the Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) instrument suggest that ions are accelerated and/or deflected around Pluto. In the wake of the interaction region, PEPSSI observed suprathermal particle fluxes equal to about 1/10 of the flux in the interplanetary medium and increasing with distance downstream. The Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter, which measures grains with radii larger than 1.4 micrometers, detected one candidate impact in +/-5 days around New Horizons' closest approach, indicating an upper limit of 〈4.6 kilometers(-3) for the dust density in the Pluto system.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Bagenal, F -- Horanyi, M -- McComas, D J -- McNutt, R L Jr -- Elliott, H A -- Hill, M E -- Brown, L E -- Delamere, P A -- Kollmann, P -- Krimigis, S M -- Kusterer, M -- Lisse, C M -- Mitchell, D G -- Piquette, M -- Poppe, A R -- Strobel, D F -- Szalay, J R -- Valek, P -- Vandegriff, J -- Weidner, S -- Zirnstein, E J -- Stern, S A -- Ennico, K -- Olkin, C B -- Weaver, H A -- Young, L A -- New Horizons Science Team -- New York, N.Y. -- Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):aad9045. doi: 10.1126/science.aad9045.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80600, USA. bagenal@colorado.edu. ; Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80600, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78228, USA. University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78228, USA. ; University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA. Academy of Athens, 28 Panapistimiou, 10679 Athens, Greece. ; Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. ; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA. ; Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80600, USA. Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA. ; NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26989259" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-06-01
    Description: The surface of Pluto is more geologically diverse and dynamic than had been expected, but the role of its tenuous atmosphere in shaping the landscape remains unclear. We describe observations from the New Horizons spacecraft of regularly spaced, linear ridges whose morphology, distribution, and orientation are consistent with being transverse dunes. These are located close to mountainous regions and are orthogonal to nearby wind streaks. We demonstrate that the wavelength of the dunes (~0.4 to 1 kilometer) is best explained by the deposition of sand-sized (~200 to ~300 micrometer) particles of methane ice in moderate winds (〈10 meters per second). The undisturbed morphology of the dunes, and relationships with the underlying convective glacial ice, imply that the dunes have formed in the very recent geological past.
    Keywords: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Planetary Science
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    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Geosciences , Computer Science , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
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