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Pluto System Speculation
post Mar 25 2016, 02:50 AM
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Given the fact that Pluto and Charon are tidal locked and the mass ration is 0.117 the axial tilt of Pluto should be absolutely stable. Pluto's large axial tilt is almost certainly the result of the collision that formed Charon and most of the features we see could be attributed to compressive and despinning stresses and tidal bulge collapse. There would have been significant tidal stresses and associate heat energy generated as Charon receded. To put it in context, Just imagine the tidal stresses and ocean tides on Earth as the moon slowly receded from just outside the Roche limit to get an idea of what occurred on Pluto. The thing is that we really do not have a clue when the Charon forming collision occurred and the final gravitational lock could have taken place not so long ago.

It is hard to justify any correlation to Mars.
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post Mar 29 2016, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Mar 22 2016, 12:57 PM) *
I recall that there have been findings that Mars has had extreme periods of tilt in its past, because of the lack of large satellites to prevent a wobble, but how would Pluto's axis undergo precession in such an extreme way, though? Doesn't Charon stabilize the axis just like our Moon does for Earth? Certainly intriguing...

The Sun and Moon exert a torque on the Earth that causes it to precess with a period of 26,000 years. The same happens, at a slower rate, with the Pluto-Charon system relative to its orbit. The plane of Pluto's orbit around the Sun also regresses relative to the orbits of the other planets.

Details here, with lots of math: Dynamics of the Pluto-Charon binary
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post Mar 29 2016, 10:15 PM
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Thanks for the link alan, 3 million vs 26,000 year cycles, Earth's axis is practically chaotic by comparison.
I'm starting to warm up to this theory of a thicker prehistoric atmosphere (no pun intended); not bad for a nearly 20 year old book!
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Kenneth Tompkins
post Jul 2 2016, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (serpens @ Feb 14 2016, 10:31 PM) *
True, but we have no idea of the timeline surrounding the formation of the Pluto/Charon system. This event would have marked the start point for the formation of the current surface features and it could have happened quite recently (in astrogeophysical terms).

Have developed a theory based on impacts (use impacts to explain all features on most solar system bodies without significant atmospheres as first likely explanations and only move on to less scientifically likely explanations next)

Hypothesis was come upon when I saw the first images of Enceladus, could see three obvious strikes, developed an idea of what I thought the rest of the surface of the moon would look like, ended up being 95% right about five strike impact being explanation
for plumes and most surface features. Tried to tell Dr. Porco on CICLOPS in 2005 what I saw but she had already disagreed with another person who suggested he saw an impact in the images. When I first saw "heart-shaped" feature on Pluto I could see an obvious
large, very geologically young impact crater at Sputnik Planum, with many secondary effects that explain almost all previous, current, and future observations of New Horizons at Pluto. In the young geology map of Sputnik Planum released two weeks
after I stated this on Google+ and Twitter, think I can see four impacts coming from southerly direction with impactor rotating clockwise as it strikes. Tartartus Dorsa is the material thrown up by the impact refreezing onto the surface of Pluto afterwards.
This explains the pattern on the surface, the unusual composition, and its very presence. Piri Planitia and other such features are secondary impacts. Convection did occur after impact pushing the old surface (the Montes) toward the edges of the spherical
impact site with the ice volcanos and glacial activity side effects of the heating and cooling of the surface material. Have been reading this site for ten years but this is my first attempted post. Am working on more detailed, coherent explanation with pictures.

Kenneth G. Tompkins
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