June 23, 2024

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How did Pluto get a “flip” after the collision?

How did Pluto get a “flip” after the collision?

A huge heart-shaped formation on its surface Pluto This core has intrigued astronomers since NASA's New Horizons spacecraft imaged it in 2015. Now, researchers believe they have solved the mystery of how this core formed.

It's called shaping Tombo area (Tombo Regio) in honor of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. But the details surrounding the height of the Tombaugh region, its geological structure and distinctive shape, as well as its highly reflective surface, which is whiter than the rest of Pluto, cannot be explained.

A deep basin is called Easy Sputnik Sputnik Planitia, which forms the left side of the core, hosts much of the frozen nitrogen on Pluto. It covers an area 1200 x 2000 km, which is about a quarter the size of the United States, but is also 3 to 4 kilometers lower than the majority of the planet's surface. The right side of the core also contains a layer of frozen nitrogen, but it is much thinner.

Through new research on the Sputnik Plain, an international team of scientists has determined that a cataclysmic event created the core. After analysis using numerical simulations, the researchers concluded that A A planetary body with a diameter of about 700 kmIt likely collided with Pluto early in the dwarf planet's history.

The “heart” of Pluto (lower left) as imaged by the New Horizons spacecraft on July 24, 2015

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP

These results are part of a study on Pluto and its internal structure published in the magazine Nature astronomy.

Conflict simulation

The researchers created numerical simulations using… Smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) programme.In order to develop models for different scenarios about the collision of a planetary body with Pluto.

The results showed that the planetary body may have collided with Pluto At an angle And not in front of me.

“The core of Pluto is so cold that the rocky body that collided with it remained very solid and did not melt despite the heat of the collision,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Hans Hans. “Thanks to the impact angle and low speed, the core of the body did not sink into the core of Pluto, but rather remained intact as a spray on it.” Harry Paladin, from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

But what happened to the planet's body after it hit Pluto? “Somewhere below Sputnik's plain is the remaining core of the massive object, which Pluto never digested.”

The team found that the teardrop shape of Sputnik's plain is a result of Pluto's cold core, as well as the relatively slow speed of the collision itself. Other types of faster, more direct collisions would have produced a more symmetrical shape.

With information from: Pluto gained a “flip” after colliding with a planetary body By Ashley Strickland, CNN

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