'Cryovolcanoes' on Pluto may be erupting ice, potential life signs

Wright Mons and Piccard Mons are two potential active cryovolcanoes found on the surface of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons mission.

Published Thu, Mar 31 2022 6:22 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Apr 25 2022 11:53 PM CDT

A study on the cryovolcanoes titled "Large-scale cryovolcanic resurfacing on Pluto" has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

'Cryovolcanoes' on Pluto may be erupting ice, potential life signs 01 | TweakTown.com

NASA's New Horizons mission has captured detailed images of the surface of Pluto, which new research has used to suggest two large mounds as being potentially active cryovolcanoes. The surface around these cryovolcanoes, or ice volcanoes, appears to have formed due to fairly recent activity.

The possibility of the active cryovolcanoes suggests liquid water could be flowing or have recently flowed under the dwarf planet's surface, and potentially more heat closer to Pluto's interior than previously thought. These conditions could allow for some form of life to exist on Pluto, hidden beneath the surface.

The two mounds are called Wright Mons and Piccard Mons and are believed to be cryovolcanoes. Wright Mons is between 2.5 and 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) high and approximately 90 miles (150 km) wide, and Piccard Mons is about 4 miles (7 kilometers) high and 150 miles (250 kilometers) wide.

"There was no other areas on Pluto that look like this region, and it's totally unique in the solar system," the lead author of the study Kelsi Singer, told Space.com.

You can read more from the study here.

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