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Pluto Surface Observations 3: NH Post-Encounter Phase, 1 Feb 2016- TBD
alan
post Feb 25 2016, 10:33 PM
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The Frozen Canyons of Pluto’s North Pole

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Long canyons run vertically across the polar area—part of the informally named Lowell Regio, named for Percival Lowell, who founded Lowell Observatory and initiated the search that led to Pluto’s discovery. The widest of the canyons (yellow in the image below) – is about 45 miles (75 kilometers) wide and runs close to the north pole. Roughly parallel subsidiary canyons to the east and west (in green) are approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. The degraded walls of these canyons appear to be much older than the more sharply defined canyon systems elsewhere on Pluto, perhaps because the polar canyons are older and made of weaker material. These canyons also appear to represent evidence for an ancient period of tectonics.
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Webscientist
post Feb 26 2016, 09:03 AM
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Great view!
The texture looks like "meringue" as we say in France! smile.gif

I notice what seems to be a huge impact crater or cryovolcano with a relatively flat ground to the upper right.
With a bit of imagination, from this view point, I would say it looks like the base of Space 99 (Cosmos 99)! laugh.gif
Thanks again Alan and all the team for this endless journey!


QUOTE (alan @ Feb 25 2016, 11:33 PM) *


Attached thumbnail(s)
Attached Image
 
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alan
post Mar 3 2016, 10:02 PM
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Methane Snow on Pluto’s Peaks

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Scientists think this bright material could be predominantly methane that has condensed as ice onto the peaks from Pluto's atmosphere. "That this material coats only the upper slopes of the peaks suggests methane ice may act like water in Earth's atmosphere, condensing as frost at high altitude," said John Stansberry, a New Horizons science team member from Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland. Compositional data from the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, shown in the right inset, indicates that the location of the bright ice on the mountain peaks correlates almost exactly with the distribution of methane ice, shown in false color as purple.
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stevesliva
post Mar 3 2016, 11:53 PM
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Huh. Makes me wonder why some slopes would appear to have frosty leeward or windward sides, and what determines the prevailing wind direction.
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wildespace
post Mar 4 2016, 12:56 PM
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QUOTE (alan @ Mar 3 2016, 10:02 PM) *

An interesting and exotic find (as it's always the case for Pluto)!

Looking at the insert in the middle at full-size, it's clear that there's some colour channel fringing, so I realigned the channel to make the image look better:
Attached Image


I also noticed some interesting orange colouration in one of the craters:
Attached Image


Any idea what it might be, and whether it's been spoted in other craters?


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ZLD
post Mar 4 2016, 01:42 PM
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That type of orange coloration has been linked to areas with the highest concentrations of detectable water. It seems like that would hold true here as well, with the impact exposing the lower water layer.

Now, why high concentrations of water appear as orange is likely due to it being mixed with tholin producing compounds but how this process evolved on a place like Pluto is a little beyond my own reading. Also, at a more technical level, I think that it wouldn't appear as orange if you were to capture the same region with a digital camera with a bayer filter.


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Gladstoner
post Mar 4 2016, 06:29 PM
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Regarding the 'snow capped' mountains, there appears to be two different types of deposits (or deposit & outcrop):

Attached Image


1. White stuff - This spotty material, on north-facing slopes, appears to be either remnants of a more extensive deposit (like scattered patches of snow remaining in terrestrial mountains by early summer).

2. Gray stuff - This material, on south-facing slopes, appears more like a more recent 'dusting' of frost (or Pluto's equivalent or whatever).

The 'snowy' peaks (3) appear to feature both types. A crater (4) at a (seemingly) lower elevation has some white stuff, so elevation may play less of a role with this material, at least.
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Herobrine
post Mar 4 2016, 09:49 PM
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That missing P_MVIC_LORRI_CA_L1 frame (the "snail") was finally put up on SOC. http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/Pluto-Encounte...0x636_sci_5.jpg

By the way, I am still keeping that LORRI-frames-by-publish-date index site up to date.
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TheAnt
post Mar 6 2016, 12:33 AM
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QUOTE (Herobrine @ Mar 4 2016, 10:49 PM) *
That missing P_MVIC_LORRI_CA_L1 frame (the "snail") was finally put up on SOC.


Thank you Herobrine for the heads up on that image. smile.gif
It might have been someone who wanted to write a paper about what it might be.
Looking at it for a while I started to wonder if it is some sort of cracks in the brighter material on the surface, revealing a darker patch below.
The lines suggest something such, but then again, this is the only image we'll ever see at this resolution so perhaps it might remain one unsolved little strange feature. smile.gif
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Steve G
post Mar 7 2016, 10:53 PM
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Is there any more close up imagery from the flyby or all we just about done in that regard. I thought there was more but nothing much new has shown up.
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alan
post Mar 11 2016, 06:13 PM
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What’s Eating at Pluto?

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Compositional data from the New Horizons spacecraft’s Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shown in the right inset, indicate that the plateau uplands south of Piri Rupes are rich in methane ice (shown in false color as purple). Scientists speculate that sublimation of methane may be causing the plateau material to erode along the face of the cliffs, causing them to retreat south and leave the plains of Piri Planitia in their wake.

Compositional data also show that the surface of Piri Planitia is more enriched in water ice (shown in false color as blue) than the higher plateaus, which may indicate that Piri Planitia’s surface is made of water ice bedrock, just beneath a layer of retreating methane ice. Because the surface of Pluto is so cold, the water ice is rock-like and immobile. The light/dark mottled pattern of Piri Planitia in the left inset is reflected in the composition map, with the lighter areas corresponding to areas richer in methane – these may be remnants of methane that have not yet sublimated away entirely.
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Herobrine
post Mar 11 2016, 10:20 PM
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Easy to miss in today's 3-frame LORRI release is another missing P_MVIC_LORRI_CA_L1 frame:
lor_0299179721_0x636_sci_5.jpg
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Habukaz
post Mar 14 2016, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (Steve G @ Mar 7 2016, 11:53 PM) *
Is there any more close up imagery from the flyby or all we just about done in that regard. I thought there was more but nothing much new has shown up.


I believe there is at least some unreleased MVIC footage left; though I am seriously starting to lose track of unpublished versus published imagery. Even if there is such unreleased imagery, it might not be released as PR.


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Gladstoner
post Mar 15 2016, 04:04 AM
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The left image of PIA20151 may be from an unreleased MVIC:

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20151

In any case, I don't recall that part of Sputnik showing up in LORRI imagery.
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alan
post Mar 16 2016, 07:10 PM
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Pluto’s ‘Snakeskin’ Terrain: Cradle of the Solar System?

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If the Tartarus Dorsa bladed region is comprised of methane clathrates, then the next question would be, “how were the clathrates placed there and where did they come from?” Recent detailed studies (see Mousis et al., 2015) strongly suggest that methane clathrates in the icy moons of the outer solar system and also in the Kuiper Belt were formed way back before the solar system formed – i.e., within the protosolar nebula – potentially making them probably some of the oldest materials in our solar system.

Might the material comprising the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa be a record of a time before the solar system ever was? That would be something!


ETA: The LPSC conference coming up next week, I wonder if some new Pluto articles will be showing up in Nature of Science to coincide with this conference.
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