Pluto's frozen plains - New Horizons mission news 1 - 17 July 2015 | Johns Hopkins APL / NASA
Oce Eeco stashed this in Planetary Science
Frozen Plains in the Heart of Pluto’s ‘Heart’
<< In the center left of Pluto’s vast heart-shaped feature – informally named “Tombaugh Regio” - lies a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains and has been informally named Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), after Earth’s first artificial satellite.>>
No more than 100 million years old means that something crashed into Pluto in the age of the dinosaurs?
I don't get your question?
Many things crashed on Pluto, like it happened on every solar system body during the "Late Heavy Bombardment" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Heavy_Bombardment ), and other more random events.
So if we don't see any crater of it on Pluto, it means its surface is young.
In the solar system, less than 1 billion years is pretty young as the solar is 4,568 Gyears old, and pretty much every planet was already formed 1 Gyear later, at ~ -3,5Gyears.
Consequently, -100Myears is very young, and so very interesting because we have to explain what mechanism kept, and maybe still keeps it so young!
Yeah if Pluto's surface is young what does that mean?
That it wasn't part of our original solar system and only joined recently?
No, that's very unlikely.
It means some mechanism is renewing the surface.Very probably cryovolcanism: eruptions of various cold liquids and ices.
It's also true for Earth, most impacts have been washed away by tectonic movements, oceans, rains, glaciations etc...
No idea, I haven't read scientific explanations of it for now.
I'm gonna bet on some huge cryo-lava flow slowing oozing out of the icy crust and forming this clear "smooth" surface, because it sounds cool!
That DOES sound cool! Thank you for that answer!
Game of Thrones needs an ice volcano.
It truly does! We must tell GRRM to get on that for the climactic episode.
"Cryo-lava" is a very captivating word. GRRM will like it.