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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: June 17, 2018

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by Hazed

Speaking of methane, scientists say that Pluto has dunes of frozen methane, meaning that the distant world is more dynamic than had been thought.

The dwarf planet’s atmosphere had been considered too thin to create dunes, but analysis of images sent back to Earth by the New Horizons mission shows a plain called the Sputnik Planitia, covered with what appear to be fields of dunes. You can see the images at the source link below.

In a paper published last week, the scientists say that the dunes are about half to one kilometre apart, and are made of particles of methane ice which are roughly the size of grains of sand.

Dr Matt Telfer, a physical geographer at the University of Plymouth, is the lead author of the paper. He says this analysis provides a new insight into Pluto. “It’s really exciting just to be able to look at this world and recognise that it’s not just a frozen icy blob in the outer reaches of the Solar System but really we’re seeing a dynamic world still changing, still forming today,” he said.

New Horizons flew close to Pluto in July 2015, after a journey that took 10 years. It’s now on its way to the outer reaches of the solar system to fly past a Kuiper Belt object in January 2019.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44317367

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