Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Surface Compositions Across Pluto and Charon

Surface Compositions Across Pluto and Charon


Grundy et al


The New Horizons spacecraft mapped colors and infrared spectra across the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon. The volatile ices CH4, CO, and N2, that dominate Pluto's surface, have complicated spatial distributions resulting from sublimation, condensation, and glacial flow acting over seasonal and geological timescales. Pluto's H2O ice "bedrock" is also mapped, with isolated outcrops occurring in a variety of settings. Pluto's surface exhibits complex regional color diversity associated with its distinct provinces. Charon's color pattern is simpler, dominated by neutral low latitudes and a reddish northern polar region. Charon near infrared spectra reveal highly localized areas with strong NH3 absorption tied to small craters with relatively fresh-appearing impact ejecta.

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