Methane Snow on Pluto's Peaks

Explanation: The New Horizons team has discovered a chain of exotic snowcapped mountains stretching across the dark expanse on Pluto informally named Cthulhu Regio. The reddish enhanced color image shown as the left inset reveals a mountain range located in southeast Cthulhu that's 260 miles (420 kilometers) long. The range is situated among craters, with narrow valleys separating its peaks. The upper slopes of the highest peaks are coated with a bright material that contrasts sharply with the dark red color of the surrounding plains. Scientists think this bright material could be predominantly methane that has condensed as ice onto the peaks from Pluto's atmosphere.


Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI