We are living in exciting times when it comes to space exploration! As predicted in this blog, Pluto would contain youthful features, just like a pattern of other discoveries through out our solar system which doesn’t match the billions of years assumption. Now scientists have put an upper limit on age at 100 million years but this doesn’t mean that Pluto is 100 million years old. Calculating a lower limit is an ongoing project for them so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
It is highly unlikely that secular scientists will give up on the notion that Pluto is billions of years old. Even millions of years old is a problem for planetary evolution.
Let’s move on to some of the data which has been transmitted back so far from New Horizons. Principal investigator Alan Stern turns the explanation to the new findings over to co-investigator Spencer who says this about the data…
“The mountains seen, which are “quite spectacular,” are up to 11,000 feet high—incredibly tall for such a small body, rivaling the Sierra Nevada. Spencer also says that Pluto’s mountains were not created out of nitrogen ice, methane ice or carbon dioxide ice. “You just can’t make mountains out of that stuff.” Spencer thinks we are looking at bedrock in the picture posted above.
Tidal heating has been used in other discoveries as the source for powering recent geological activity in places like Enceladus whose geysers are still active. Because without a power source, it would be impossible for geological activity to sustain itself over the course of billions of years especially in cold space pretty far from the sun. Like Enceladus, Pluto also has young features on its surface.
“Pluto is the first ice dwarf ever studied that does not orbit a gas giant like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus or Neptune. Bodies orbiting the gas giants experience gravity-driven tidal stresses, generating internal heat that can, in turn, drive geological activity.”
As predicted in my previous post, a team of secular scientists will be working on coming up with ideas on how Pluto could be billions of years old, and yet have a heat source that hasn’t frozen out yet despite it being small, with no chance of tidal heating, and is extremely far from the sun. In reality, their project of trying to fit it into billions of years (because that is what they believe not what the data is giving them) defies the laws of physics.
Not to overlook Pluto’s moon Charon which is half the size of Pluto circles each other in gravitational lockstep every 6.4 days. It also has some young feature, confirmation of youth rather than billions of years old.
In CBS news…
“Originally, I thought Charon might be an ancient terrain covered in craters,” said Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist. “And so, Charon just blew our socks off when we had the new image today. We’ve just been thrilled. All morning, the team has just been abuzz, ‘look at this, look at that, oh my God that’s amazing!'”
New Horizons was able to capture Charon which had surprised scientists because of the lack of impact craters. It is amazing, this whole 700+ million dollar space project is quite amazing. It’s going to get better as New Horizons continues to transmit data it gathered while flying by Pluto and its moons so stay tuned! :)