California, US (BBN)-NASA’s New Horizons mission to the Pluto-Charon system has revealed a number of previously-known features of the distant icy worlds.
Images captured by New Horizons showed a massive icy plain sporting glacier-like ice streams that spill into craters on Pluto, reports the NY City News.
There is water-ice mountain range as high as the Appalachian Mountains on Earth.
The dwarf planet’s dark equatorial region showed a crater-pocked landscape within a part of the region that has been dubbed by NASA scientists as Cthulhu Regio.
The new images were captured on July 14, when the New Horizons spacecraft passed by Pluto at distance of just 7,800 miles.
The spacecraft also delivered some surprising images of Pluto’s atmosphere, as well as confirmed that if its Charon moon has atmosphere, it should be very tenuous.
However, scientists still believe that much more is needed to understand the very complicated landscape of Pluto.
Alan Stern, a researcher with Boulder, Colo-based Southwest Research Institute, said, “Pluto has a very complicated story to tell. There is a lot of work we need to do to understand this very complicated place.”
Scientists determined that Pluto’s surface temperature is as low as -390 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes water ice on it extremely hard and brittle.
However, nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide ices are expected to be quite soft and malleable.
Presence of nitrogen ice on Pluto’s surface is known to scientists for years.