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Do Many Planets Have Active Volcanoes?

Volcanoes aren't uncommon in our Solar System -- even several of Jupiter's moons have them -- but there's at least one volcano on Pluto that might be especially unique. Although they don't know all of the cold, hard facts yet, NASA researchers say that the dwarf planet's informally-named Wright Mons appears to be a cryovolcano. They have theorized that it spews an icy mixture of water, nitrogen, ammonia, and other matter, instead of the molten lava we are familiar with here on Earth. These conjectures are based on three-dimensional topographic images sent back to Earth from the New Horizons spacecraft. According to the pictures, Wright Mons -- named in honor of the Wright Brothers -- is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) high and 90 miles (150 km) wide. Better yet, it's not alone. A second potential cryovolcano was spotted not far from Wright Mons, near Pluto's south pole, making for quite a chilling double feature.

Cool facts about Pluto:

  • The surface temperature on Pluto is around -375 degrees F (-225 degrees C), or roughly three times colder than Antarctica has ever been.

  • Pluto is smaller than Earth's moon, but it may contain even more water than is found on Earth, in the form of ice.

  • On Pluto, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east (due to its retrograde rotation), and a single day lasts 153.3 hours.

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More Info: Popular Science

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