Geology before Pluto: Pre-encounter considerations


Tuesday, May 19 2015 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Jeff Moore

The cameras of New Horizons will provide robust data sets that should be imminently amenable to geological analysis of the Pluto system’s landscapes. I will give with a brief discussion of the planned observations by the New Horizons cameras that will bear most directly on geological interpretability.

Then I will review the major geological processes that could potentially operate on the surfaces of Pluto and its major moon Charon. I will briefly survey exogenic processes (i.e. those for which energy for surface modification is supplied externally to the planetary surface): impact cratering, sedimentary processes (including volatile migration), and the work of wind. I will conclude with an assessment of the prospects for endogenic activity in the form of tectonics and cryovolcanism.


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