This just in: The 11,000 foot ice mountains on Pluto look mighty tasty

This just in: The 11,000 foot ice mountains on Pluto look mighty tasty

Earlier this week, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completed a 3.6 billion mile journey to photograph the enigmatic dwarf planet, Pluto. The shots revealed that the surface of Pluto is littered with behemoth ice mountains, 11,000 feet high. Scientists already know that Pluto’s surface is covered with nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide ice. But, that material is far too weak to produce mountains, thereby indicating that the mountains are comprised of water ice.


Huge mountains on the surface of Pluto. Image: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI

“The steep topography means that the bedrock that makes those mountains must be made of H2O — of water ice,” said Alan Stern, principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, in a CNN article. “We can be very sure that the water is there in great abundance.”

While scientists once believed Pluto to be a cold, desolate planet, it turns out, that the planet could be a steep skiing mecca for extra terrestrial life in the solar system. Imagine this: you and your new E.T.-esque buddy tackling icy spines while staring out into the Kuiper Belt. What is the Kuiper Belt you ask? I just looked it up, and it turns out, it’s a term referring to the space outside of our solar system, beginning from the orbit of Neptune and extending a long way out from there. It’s comparable to skiing out of bounds at your favorite resort. You feel like you shouldn’t be out there, but the rush is too much to ignore.

So, take solace in the fact that, well after all of us are dead and gone, and humanity has unfathomably figured out a way to sustain life on Pluto, there will be plenty of opportunity to keep the shred alive.

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