PIA20535: Mountains, Craters and Plains

Mountains, Craters and Plains


New Horizons views of the informally named Sputnik Planum on Pluto (top) and the informally named Vulcan Planum on Charon (bottom). Both scale bars measure 20 miles (32 kilometers) long; illumination is from the left in both instances. The Sputnik Planum view is centered at 11°N, 180°E, and covers the bright, icy, geologically cellular plains. Here, the cells are defined by a network of interconnected troughs that crisscross these nitrogen-ice plains. At right, in the upper image, the cellular plains yield to pitted plains of southern Sputnik Planum. This observation was obtained by the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) at a resolution of 1,050 feet (320 meters) per pixel. The Vulcan Planum view in the bottom panel is centered at 4°S, 4°E, and includes the "moated mountain" Clarke Mons just above the center of the image. As well as featuring impact craters and sinuous troughs, the water ice-rich plains display a range of surface textures, from smooth and grooved at left, to pitted and hummocky at right. This observation was obtained by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at a resolution of 525 feet (160 meters) per pixel.

Background Info:

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Pluto Charon
System Pluto Kuiper Belt
Target Type Satellite Dwarf Planet, KBO
Mission New Horizons
Instrument Host New Horizons
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Impact, Mountain, Visual, Water
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2016-03-17
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20535
Identifier PIA20535