Planetary Science

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surface of Pluto

Mountains of water ice roughly as tall as the Rockies tower over a young landscape to the south of Pluto’s heart-shaped region. Snows of nitrogen and methane blanket the peaks. On the dwarf planet, water ice probably behaves like bedrock on Earth.

false-color image of pluto

SPREADING THE LOVE  One of the latest false color images of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft suggests that the dwarf planet’s heart may push exotic ices to its edges.  

The surface of Venus

SPOTTED  Using radar, spacecraft have cut through the Venusian clouds to snap images of craters on the planet’s surface. Mead crater (shown) is the largest on Venus at 280 kilometers across.

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