FOUND: Pluto's Dragon-Scale Surface - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: Pluto’s Dragon-Scale Surface

Pluto (Photo: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI)

NASA’s New Horizons probe keeps sending back ever-more amazing pictures of Pluto. The newest batch, downlinked to Earth on September 19, shows an “extended color” version of the planet’s surface—“a vast rippling landscape of strange, aligned linear ridges that has astonished New Horizons team members,” according to the space agency.

Pluto (Photo: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI)

The geology of the surface is unlike anything scientists have seen before. In a NASA press release, William McKinnon, New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team deputy lead, said it ”looks more tree bark or dragon scales than geology.” There are possible explanations for this rippling, scale pattern—internal tectonic forces, the lack of sunlight reaching the planet—but for now it’s a gorgeous mystery.

Honestly, we could look at Pluto all day. Hello there, you beautiful ball of rock and ice.

Pluto! (Photo: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI)

Bonus finds: An enormous time capsule full of water93-pound fossilized coral stone

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.