Dunes on Pluto made of tiny frozen grains of methane

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Scientists have discovered dunes on Pluto made of tiny frozen grains of methane.

The pale gray and white ridges were revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft during its 2015 flyby. A British-led team announced the findings Thursday in the journal Science.

Researchers say the dunes appear to be made mostly of icy specks of methane the size of sand. Thought to be relatively recent, the dunes are located in Pluto's heart-shaped region at the base of mountains with methane snowcaps.

Scientists were surprised to find dunes given Pluto's thin, weak atmosphere. They suggest surface nitrogen ice transformed into gas that lifted methane particles. Pluto's gentle winds then carried and deposited the grains.

Dunes already have been found on Mars, Venus, Saturn's moon, Titan, and even a comet.

You may also like these

Shanghai gets automated bank with VR, robots,...

Apr 23, 2018

Shanghai gets automated "unmanned bank" equipped with facial recognition software, a virtual...

China, EU to form group to modernize global trade...

Jun 25, 2018

China and Europe have agreed to launch a group that will work to update global trade rules to...

China eases investment curbs as clash with US...

Jun 29, 2018

China is easing limits on foreign ownership in auto manufacturing, insurance and other fields but...

Tesla will build its 1st factory outside US in...

Jul 11, 2018

Electric car producer Tesla will build its first factory outside the United States in Shanghai,...

US firm: Chinese hackers infiltrate Cambodia...

Jul 12, 2018

A U.S. cybersecurity firm has found evidence Chinese hackers linked to Beijing's government have...

About Us

Science Tech Today is all about the present with what’s new in the Science and Technology world. “Keep up with today, and don’t be left behind.”

Subscribe Now!