Pluto’s Young Surface

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On July 15, 2015, NASA released the first close-up images of Pluto taken by the New Horizons space probe. What the photos revealed was a shock to scientists who believe in a 4.5-billion-year-old solar system.

The preliminary photos of Pluto’s surface indicate far fewer craters than expected. While earlier wide-field views of half of Pluto’s surface seemed to show a few craters, the first close-up appeared to have none. Planetary scientists committed to belief in a 4.5-billion-year-old solar system are at a complete loss to explain the lack of craters on Pluto. In such a long time, millions more objects should have collided with Pluto’s surface.

But it gets worse. Pluto also has a nitrogen atmosphere that is leaking away. After billions of years, all of its nitrogen should be long gone. These considerations demonstrate that Pluto is a very young object. But why should believers be shocked? We should expect more confirmations of a young universe as NASA’s space exploration continues.

Answers Magazine

October–December 2015

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