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Planetary Science

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Sputnik Planitia

FEELING DOWN  A basin on Pluto named Sputnik Planitia (at right in this image from New Horizons) might be a depression formed by the weight of a massive ice cap, a new study suggests.

Chicxulub illustration

RINGING TRUE  A ring of mountains (inner circle) inside large impact craters, such as the one left by the famous dinosaur-killer at Chicxulub (illustrated above), form when rocks from deep underground rebound upward and collapse outward following the impact, new research suggests. The outer ring is the crater edge.

Pluto

X-RAY SURPRISE An unexpected trickle of X-rays (blue) surrounds Pluto, possibly from a tail of gas dragging behind the dwarf planet.

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