NASA New Horizons marks 10 years in space, hints presence of icy volcanoes on Pluto’s surface

The latest pictures of Pluto sent by NASA New Horizon’s Spacecraft hints to the existence of giant ice volcanoes on the dwarf planet, which have raised more questions. The structure has been named Wright Mons in memory of the legendary Wright Brothers who had pioneered aviation.

The pictures sent by the spacecraft hints of solid ice floating on a lake of nitrogen. The relative lack of red surface in that region and the existence of a solitary impact crater within the Wright Mons hints that the crater was formed in recent times.

NASA scientists are looking closely at the high-resolution pictures of possible ice volcanoes on the surface of the Pluto taken by the spacecraft in July 2015.

The volcanoes resemble shield volcanoes, which are very broad and rise gradually unlike volcanoes on earth which have sharp peaks.

The New Horizons spacecraft were launched nearly a decade ago aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle on January 2006. The spacecraft was hurled into space at a speed of 36,000 mph which by itself is a record.

New Horizons Principal Scientist, Alan Stern said that the flyby of New Horizons fulfilled a long cherished dream of the astronomers to explore all the planets of the solar system, and it all started nearly ten years ago.

New Horizons will continue its journey past Pluto and will continue to send data of its summer encounter of 2015.

NASA is considering extending the mission of New Horizons spacecraft to visit another dwarf planet like Pluto. It will happen sometime in the beginning of 2018 and scientists are eagerly waiting for the moment.