A surprise on Pluto
leads NAU’s Trilling to unexpected conclusion

You could say that Pluto is young … or at least young at heart. Research conducted by Dr. David Trilling of NAU resulted in findings that a major feature of Pluto – a smooth, heart-shaped region on the dwarf planet’s surface – is less than 10 million years old, far less than the solar system’s 4.5 billion years. Researchers have yet to conclude what process is responsible for the resurfacing, but Trilling suggests three possible explanations for why no craters appear in that icy region: viscous relaxation, convective overturn, and cryovolcanism. Each involves processes of movement in the ice that lead to larger questions about resurfacing activity on Pluto and other bodies in the outer solar system.

The study’s results were published in PLOS ONE. .