NASA scientists on Tuesday announced that they had made a new discovery in Pluto's "heart": a large mountain range.
Located next to Pluto's Tombaugh Regio, a bright, heart-shaped region, experts said the icy mountains appear to be "less lofty" than the peaks discovered last week.
The range was discovered from an image captured by NASA's New Horizon spacecraft which transmitted the photo to Earth on July 20, from a distance of 48,000 miles.
“There is a pronounced difference in texture between the younger, frozen plains to the east and the dark, heavily-cratered terrain to the west,” said Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Pluto's heart reveals 2nd mountain range! Young, frozen peaks .5 - 1 mile high, similar to the U.S. Appalachian Mts. http://t.co/WV40unuFTG— NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons) July 21, 2015
He added, “There’s a complex interaction going on between the bright and the dark materials that we’re still trying to understand.”
NASA said that the newly-discovered mountain range appeared to be one-half to one mile high, comparable to the Appalachian Mountains. The earlier range discovered was closer to the hight of the Rocky Mountains.
Earlier, Southwest Research Institute John Spencer said findings suggesting a geologically active interior would “send a lot of geophysicists back to the drawing boards.”
"It could be a game-changer," he said at the time.
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