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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Pluto’s ‘Heart’

Filed under New Horizons, pretty pictures, Pluto

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Pluto’s ‘Heart’ Sputnik Planum is the informal name of the smooth, light-bulb shaped region on the left of this composite of several New Horizons images of Pluto. The brilliantly white upland region to the right may be coated by nitrogen ice that has been transported through the atmosphere from the surface of Sputnik Planum, and deposited on these uplands. The box shows the location of the glacier detail images below.

NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

Valley glaciers on Pluto

NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

Valley glaciers on Pluto
Ice (probably frozen nitrogen) that appears to have accumulated on the uplands on the right side of this 630-kilometer wide image is draining from Pluto’s mountains onto the informally named Sputnik Planum through the 3- to 8- kilometer wide valleys indicated by the red arrows. The flow front of the ice moving into Sputnik Planum is outlined by the blue arrows. The origin of the ridges and pits on the right side of the image remains uncertain.

Intricate valley glaciers on Pluto

NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

Intricate valley glaciers on Pluto
This image covers the same region as the image above, but is re-projected from the oblique, backlit view shown in the new crescent image of Pluto. The backlighting highlights the intricate flow lines on the glaciers. The flow front of the ice moving into the informally named Sputnik Planum is outlined by the blue arrows. The origin of the ridges and pits on the right side of the image remains uncertain. This image is 630 kilometers across.

Original image data dated on or about July 14, 2015.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

 

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