The surface age of sputnik planum, pluto, must be less than 10 million years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Data from the New Horizons mission to Pluto show no craters on Sputnik Planum down to the detection limit (2 km for low resolution data, 625 m for high resolution data). The number of small Kuiper Belt Objects that should be impacting Pluto is known to some degree from various astronomical surveys. We combine these geological and telescopic observations to make an order of magnitude estimate that the surface age of Sputnik Planum must be less than 10 million years. This maximum surface age is surprisingly young and implies that this area of Pluto must be undergoing active resurfacing, presumably through some cryo-geophysical process. We discuss three possible resurfacing mechanisms and the implications of each one for Pluto's physical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0147386
JournalPLoS One
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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Pluto
Temazepam
Geological Phenomena
physical properties
detection limit
Physical properties
Limit of Detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The surface age of sputnik planum, pluto, must be less than 10 million years. / Trilling, David E.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 11, No. 1, e0147386, 01.01.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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