Ice Volcano Discovered on Pluto By NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft
NASA released an image of what appears to be a massive ice volcano on Pluto.
"This feature is enormous," NASA said on its website. "If it is in fact a volcano, as suspected, it would be the largest such feature discovered in the outer solar system."
Also known as a cryovolcano, the feature is one of 2 possible ice volcanoes spotted on Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft.
Unlike volcanoes on Earth, cryovolcanoes would have erupted with a mix of frozen water, ammonia, methane, and/or nitrogen, and resemble shield volcanoes (rather than rising to a sharp peak, they are longer and lower).
NASA named the ice volcano Wright Mons, for the Wright Brothers, and is 2.5 miles high by 90 miles across, located just below the "heart" of Pluto.
"Nothing like this has ever been seen in the outer solar system," New Horizons scientist Oliver White told Reuters, adding that seeing an ice volcano on Pluto is the "least crazy thing we can think of...Whatever they are, they're definitely weird."