Maryland Astronomer Spots Sinkhole on Pluto

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Image of Pluto via JHU APL/NASA/Southwest Research Institute
Image of Pluto via JHU APL/NASA/Southwest Research Institute

We’ve had lots of sinkholes in the area lately, from the middle of the city in Mt. Vernon to the neighborhoods of Rodgers Forge. So it’s fitting in this year of the sinkhole that s Maryland astronomer is even seeing one in the heart of Pluto.

According to the AP, a team lead by University of Maryland astronomer Douglas Hamilton published research that a deep icy basin in the heart-shaped area of Pluto is in fact a sinkhole. Instead of aging infrastructure, the sinkhole was caused by very old ice.

Using data and photographs from the flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft, which was operated out Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, the team concluded that that an ice cap formed at the location that may have later collapsed.

The fact that Pluto’s heart was heavy was not lost on Hamilton.

“Pluto’s big heart weighs heavily on the small planet, leading inevitably to depression,” Hamilton said in a statement.

 

 



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