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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mystery of the mysterious “ice towers” on Pluto

Experts from the American space Agency NASA, to understand what the nature of the unusual ice build-up, previously discovered on Pluto. As it turned out, deposits, reminiscent of the pointed tower and reaching a height of several hundred meters, consist of methane ice and, in all probability, was formed by a special type of erosion.

photo: pixabay.com

“Icy tower” in the southern hemisphere, the largest in the Solar system dwarf planet caught in the lens of the automatic interplanetary station, New Horizons in 2015, and in the beginning of this year, planetary scientists were able to confirm their existence. Prior to this, this ice needles, called Penitentes or Calasparra, the scientists found only on Earth and on our planet they are usually inferior in size to those that are on Pluto, nearly a hundred times. The name of the Penitentes was in honor of the same name hats monks. Due to the fact that the needles are usually sloped, they are somewhat reminiscent of the kneeling monks, which also received the nickname of “penitent snow”.

The assumption that unusual “needle” formed of ice methane

it was made by professionals almost immediately, but now, reportedly, this version could be confirmed. Because Pluto is much further from the Sun than Earth, and has a hot core, it is much colder than anywhere else on the planet, and as a result, the ice on it is formed not from water but from methane and nitrogen. At the same time, evaporating methane due to the rarefied atmosphere of the planet immediately goes into a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid, and this contributes to the formation of neobycnyj towers. By the way, Calasparra on Earth are formed from water ice at high altitude due to the same mechanisms.

Some experts believe that Caligastia can be found on icy moon of Jupiter, Europe, today, however, Earth and Pluto are the only heavenly bodies on the surface which “ice needles” are for sure.


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