When the New Horizons satellite flew near Pluto in 2015, NASA discovered mountains on Pluto that looked like mountains in the Alps.
It was the first time that we had discovered mountains in our solar system that we are used to seeing them here on Earth. So, it was interesting to take a closer look, says Bertrand Tanguy, a researcher at NASA.
Methane forms ice
On earth it is the warmest on earth and then gets colder the higher it is. The ice on the mountains consists of moist air rising along the mountain. When the air reaches higher and colder altitudes, it cools and forms ice crystals.
What separates Pluto from Earth is that it is as cold on the surface as it is up in the air. This is because the atmosphere is saturated with methane. When methane gas comes into contact with cold rocks, it instantly freezes into ice
Uses weather models
Scientists at NASA studying the process on Pluto are using similar computer models commonly used to predict the weather here on Earth.
The reason why there is no snow on Earth on Pluto goes back to their calculations because there is no methane gas at ground level.
– We have two similar landscapes created in completely different ways. Bertrand Tanguy says it gives us perspective and knowledge to understand and understand the climate on other planets
studies Published in Nature Communications.