Tuesday, March 1, 2016
4:00 pm
South Mudd 365

Planetary Science Seminar

The Pluto System as Revealed by New Horizons
Kelsi Singer, Dr, Planetary Sciences, Southwest Research Institute

In July of 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system, completing humanity's reconnaissance of the classical planets. Pluto turned out to be a world of remarkable geologic diversity, and its terrains display a range of ages, suggesting geologic activity of various forms has persisted for much of Pluto's history. Pluto's atmosphere was found to be more compact, and with lower escape rates, than previously predicted. Hi-phase images looking back at Pluto's atmosphere led to the discovery of numerous haze layers. We are in the beginning stages of understanding this complex world, but I will highlight what we have learned so far and present the latest images and results. I will also discuss in more detail my work on the crater retention ages of the different surface units of Pluto and its moons, and some of the unique geologic features seen on Pluto and Charon, including a putative cryovolcano.

Contact Chris Spalding cspaldin@caltech.edu
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