On march 3, 2016, NASA revealed a picture of a range of mountains on one of Pluto’s most identifiable features, named Cthulhu, where it can be seen some bright material that could be identified as Snow.
Cthulhu stretches almost halfway around Pluto’s equator, starting from the west of the great nitrogen ice plains known as Sputnick Planum. Measuring approximately 1.850 miles long and 450 miles wide is a bit larger than the state of Alaska.
The appearance of Pluto’s range of mountains is characterized by a dark surface, which scientists think is due to be covered by a layer of complex molecules that form when methane is exposed to sunlight, named Thollins, which had been found in several worlds in the outer solar system, including Titan among those.
On the reddish high-resolution image was taken by NASA’s team New Horizons Spacecraft, from the Space Telescope Science institute in Baltimore, it can be seen on the left side of the picture a group of mountains settled at the southeast of Cthulhu that’s 260 miles long. Its highest peaks are coated with the strange bright snow-ish material, that strongly contrasts with the dark red color of the surrounding plains.
A different kind of snow
The NASA scientists think that the bright material could be indeed some kind of “snow” which could be formed by the condensing of the Methane Ice that involves Cthulhu. NASA science team member John Stansberry said, “That this material coats only the upper slopes of the peaks suggests methane ice may act like water in Earth’s atmosphere, condensing as frost at high altitude”.
Somehow this specter shown in the images and now known as “Pluto’s Snow” doesn’t have yet a concrete complete answer that responds the question if it’s actually the condensing of the methane Ice becoming snow or if it’s something else. More pictures will bring new theories to respond this event on Pluto.
Source: Albany Daily Star