A recent observational study made by Professor John Moores of New York’s Lassonde School of Engineering recently discovered evidence of ice and snow features over Pluto. For this purpose, he made use of a model very much similar with the one used by meteorologists to describe weather of Earth along with a computer operated simulation of physics used for evaporating ices. Termed as “Penitentes”, these are created in bowl-shaped depressions due to the spires that are present near the edges and are several meters high. The groundbreaking researcher took place in association with research teams as NASA and the John Hopkins University. These clearly show the icy features that might be existing over other planets that have similar climatic conditions.
Moores says, “The identification of the ridges of Tartarus Dorsa as Penitentes suggests that the presence of an atmosphere is necessary for the formation of penitentes, which would explain why they have not previously been seen on other airless icy satellites or dwarf planets. But exotic differences in the environment give rise to features with very different scales. This test of our terrestrial models for penitentes suggests that we may find these features elsewhere in the solar system, and in other solar systems, where the conditions are right.”
The team made a close comparison between their model and ridges observed on Pluto by the Horizons spacecraft last to last year. Ridges present on Pluto are much larger in size, almost 500 meters tall and stand aloof from each other at a distance of 3-5 kilometers. Moores further adds, “This gargantuan size is predicted by the same theory that explains the formation of these features on Earth. In fact, we were able to match the size and separation, the direction of the ridges, as well as their age: three pieces of evidence that support our identification of these ridges as penitentes.”
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