New Image of Textured Pluto Mountains Nicknamed Snakeskin

Posted on September 25, 2015

Snakeskin texture mountains image on Pluto

NASA's New Horizons team has released a new image of textured mountains on Pluto. The researchers nicknamed the image "snakeskin" due to the scaly appearance of the mountains. The New Horizons team is astonished by the image which they say shows a "vast rippling landscape of strange, aligned linear ridges."

William McKinnon, New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team deputy leader, says in a statement, "It's a unique and perplexing landscape stretching over hundreds of miles. It looks more like tree bark or dragon scales than geology. This'll really take time to figure out; maybe it's some combination of internal tectonic forces and ice sublimation driven by Pluto's faint sunlight."

The textured mountain region has been informally named the Tartarus Dorsa. The view in the image above is about 330 miles (530 kilometers) across. A hi-res version of the "snakeskin" image can be found here.

NASA also recently released this video showing a flyby of the Pluto system as seen by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015. Take a look:



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