Status Report

Volcanoes in Space?

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2007
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Volcanoes in Space?

Dr. Ted Roush, a scientist at Ames, co-authored a paper titled “Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of Charon: Possible Evidence for Cryovolcanism on Kuiper Belt Objects” in the Astrophysical Journal.

Charon is a Kuiper Belt object that is either the largest moon of Pluto or one member of a double dwarf planet along with Pluto.

The paper included information on crystalline water ice at the surface that was likely due to the presence of ammonia hydrate. Ammonia hydrate lowers the melting point of crystalline water ice and the resulting liquid can be emplaced on the surface by volcanic activity.

The presence of both materials suggest that such cryovolcanic activity may have occurred on Charon in relatively recent history.

SpaceRef staff editor.