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Mystery of the “ice heart” of Pluto

Раскрыта тайна "ледяного сердца" Плутона“Frozen heart” Pluto could have formed in the early years of its existence

This form of relief, according to planetary scientists, based on data from the New Horizons probe that originated in the distant past, Pluto in the fall of a large asteroid.

Plains Satellite, where there is a bright “heart” of Pluto, could occur on its surface and to acquire the current form, even if Pluto does not fall, a large asteroid involved, according to the astronomers, the birth of this form of relief, according published in the journal Nature in the article.

“Big “heart” Pluto proved to be too heavy a burden for a small planet, the result of which she developed depression. Something similar happened to Earth when Greenland was covered with a crust of ice. She “squeezed” the crust in the hand, has created it deeper and gave rise to the gravitational anomaly,” said Douglas Hamilton of the University of Maryland, College Park (USA).

When the probe New Horizons was closer to Pluto and its family of satellites in June last year, the first and most unusual feature of the surface, which was discovered by scientists was the “heart” of Pluto, the plain Companion, painted in a lighter tone than the rest of the surface of the dwarf planet.

This form of relief, according to planetary scientists, based on data from the New Horizons probe that originated in the distant past, Pluto in the fall of a large asteroid, whose diameter is likely to exceed 200 kilometers. As a result of this cataclysm on the surface of Pluto left a dent depth of about 4-5 kilometers, which greatly changed the climate of the planet and gradually was filled with nitrogen and carbon-dioxide ice.

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Gradually in the excavation of ice accumulated so much that he began to “pull” the planet down, causing the plain of the Satellite, previously located at the poles of Pluto, gradually moved in the direction of its equator and began to always look at Charon, the largest member of the retinue of Pluto.

According to Hamilton, based on the created mathematical model of climate and the subsurface of the dwarf planet, the first phase of this process – the asteroid – is not required for the formation of plains Satellite in the form in which they exist.

According to the scientist, his calculations show that “frozen heart” Pluto could have formed in the early years of its existence, when the dwarf planet rotated fast enough. It arose at the poles of Pluto, thanks to two unusual things – its harsh climate and the inclination of the axis of rotation for 120 degrees, which actually causes Pluto to rotate on its side.

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Due to the extreme temperatures and the unusual inclination of the axis of Pluto, as told by Hamilton, the coldest places on the planet, paradoxically, are not his pole, and a narrow strip in temperate latitudes, around 30-40 degrees North and South latitude.

Over time, there was a large glacier that made these regions more colder due to the fact that they reflect stronger light than the other portions of the surface of Pluto. It has accelerated the accumulation of ice led to the fact that a few hundred million years the amount exceeded a certain critical point, and the future of the “heart” of Pluto pushed through the crust, forming a deep “crater”. It lowered the temperature and caused the ice to accumulate it faster, which gave rise to a positive gravity anomaly, opened the New Horizons probe.

As a result, as in the case of “asteroid” hypothesis born of the plains of the Satellite, the axis of rotation of Pluto started to shift, and the future heart of the Pluto moved closer to the equator and turned in the direction of Charon, the largest satellite of the dwarf planet. Here, as predicted by the theory of Hamilton, it began gradually to evaporate, traces of which, according to planetary scientists, you can see in the pictures from New Horizons.

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