Pluto's Craterless Plains Look Young | The Institute for Creation Research

Pluto's Craterless Plains Look Young

Earlier this year, New Horizons flew past dwarf planet Pluto and its sister Charon, rapidly capturing data. That information continues to trickle in, revealing a surprisingly smooth heart-shaped plain called "Tombaugh Regio." The countless craters expected from billions of years' worth of impacts are nowhere to be found.

Tombaugh Regio is centered just north of Pluto's equator and contains a western lobe called "Sputnik Planum." After thorough data scouring, researchers found zero craters on Sputnik Planum.

The most obvious way to "smooth" this plain is for recent geologic activity to erase impact craters. But this clearly implies a recent and sizable output of energy from Pluto's interior. That's quite a trick for an object so far from the sun and isolated from outside gravitational pulls that might contribute to that energy. Pluto is so small and far removed from its moment of creation— supposedly over four billion years ago—that its internal heat should have vanished long ago.

"It's a huge finding that small planets can be active on a massive scale, billions of years after their creation," said Alan Stern, principal investigator behind the New Horizons spacecraft on November 9 at the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.1

NASA released a video of New Horizons flight over the vast flatness of Sputnik Planum.2 New images and information also reveal two crater-topped mountains that appear to be ice volcanos rising several miles above Pluto's surface. Pluto's fault ridges and other signs of youth all show "seemingly young surfaces" that run "against many expectations" according to a presentation abstract from the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Maryland.3 All this jives with what the Institute for Creation Research suggested just before New Horizons was set to collect data from Pluto and Charon—that it would uncover more evidence of a young-looking solar system.4

Space.com wrote,

Scientists had expected that heat to be lost if Pluto was an old object. But New Horizons revealed an active surface on an old planet, and internal heating is the best current guess for what's driving that activity—even if scientists don't quite know how that heat has lasted over 4 billion years.1

Perhaps the heat has not lasted "over 4 billion years." This inferred heat presents no challenge to the idea that Pluto is young—part of a recent creation. But Stern said, "We can't appeal to a young Pluto-Charon system to explain energy sources." One wonders why not since the evidence points that direction. Does a young Pluto sound too biblical?

References

  1. Redd, N. T. Part of Pluto's Heart Was 'Born Yesterday.' Space.com. Posted on space.com November 11, 2015, accessed November 11, 2015.
  2. Art Meets Science in New Pluto Aerial Tour. Stuart Robbins, a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, stitched New Horizons spacecraft images of Pluto's surface together to craft this flyover animation.
  3. Trowbridge, A. J., H. J. Melosh, and A. M. Freed. Vigorous Convection Underlies Pluto's Surface Activity. Presented at the November 2015 47th Annual Meeting, American Astronomical Society, Division of Planetary Sciences, #102.01. The abstract's opening line reads: "Against many expectations, New Horizons' images of the surface of Pluto and Charon show seemingly young surfaces." http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015DPS...
    .4710201T
  4. Hebert, J. New Horizons, Pluto, and the Age of the Solar System. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org July 14, 2015, accessed November 17, 2015. 

Image credit: 2015 NASA. Public Domain. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on November 23, 2015.

The Latest
NEWS
Aerial Engineering and Physics of the Dragonfly
Dragonflies (order Odonata) are perhaps one of the most studied and appreciated insects in the world today. Like the hummingbird, the dragonfly is a master...

NEWS
Seafloor Spreading Matches Creation Predictions
Evolutionary scientists recently determined that seafloor spreading has been slowing down.1 And they are not exactly sure of the reason. However,...

NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...