The ice must flow to make Pluto’s dunes, but how?

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The Wrinkles On Pluto’s Heart Could Be Methane-Ice Dunes

possible dunes on Pluto

In this high-resolution image of Pluto’s heart, you can see wrinkles in the nitrogen ice. Those are possibly dunes made of methane, which raises an interesting question: how can such dunes form? [Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute]

For Forbes:

Sand dunes are found all over Earth: along the shores of lakes or oceans, deserts like the Sahara in Africa, and even underwater. Robotic space probes have also found dunes on Venus, Mars, and Saturn’s giant moon Titan.

Now researchers think they have found dunes on Pluto, which presents a huge (and fun) mystery. How can dunes form on a world where the atmosphere is a bare wisp, not enough to create the kind of winds responsible for making dunes elsewhere in the Solar System?

[Read the rest at Forbes…]

Like a tiger’s stripes, Jupiter’s colorful bands are more than just pretty colors

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Jupiter: The Large Adult Son of the Solar System

“We are really learning about a brand new Jupiter in many ways.”

For The Daily Beast:

Everything about Jupiter is large. The planet’s diameter is 11 times Earth’s size, and it is more massive than all other planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and moons put together. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a storm bigger than Earth that has lasted for as long as we humans have built telescopes to see it.

Jupiter’s mysteries are also large. NASA’s Juno mission currently in orbit around the planet is teaching us that we really don’t understand the solar system’s large adult son. Four new papers published in Nature on Wednesday outline the strangeness of Jupiter’s atmosphere, and how none of our current theories about how planets work are adequate to explain that weirdness.

[Read the rest at The Daily Beast]