When the spacecraft landed on the surface of Pluto, you look out from the window, trying to find the position of the sun in the sky, it is very, very far away-the sun on Pluto is 40 times farther away than the earth, and it provides Light is less than one thousandth of the earth. Although it is noon on Pluto, it still feels like night: all stars are visible, and the mountainous landforms are mostly dim outlines under the stars.
Pluto was kicked out of the planetary family for being “too small” in 2006 and became a member of the dwarf planet. Pluto is indeed not big, the circumference of the equator is only 7,360 kilometers, which means that as long as there are roads and gas stations on Pluto, we can travel around Pluto leisurely in a week.
So, now let us leave the spacecraft, get on a buggy specially made for Pluto, and start a self-driving tour of Pluto.
Fetch water on the ice sheet
This is the starting point of our self-driving tour-the Tombo area. The reason for choosing this is because this is the only place where Pluto may have liquid water, and we have to fill it with enough water for a week.
Please park your car on the white ground and bring a kettle to fetch water. As soon as you step on the ground, you seem to be walking on a piece of jelly. The ground is soft. Once you step on a pit, you don’t have to work hard to walk. Your feet can be pulled out easily, and the ground is instantly flat. But it’s really cold, much colder than the ice and snow in Antarctica, because this piece of land is frozen in solid nitrogen and the temperature is below -200℃.
I finally walked to the lake, where there is some liquid water, it is obviously a frozen lake! Don’t worry, smash the frozen nitrogen on the surface and take a look. After breaking the ice surface, a blast of warm air evaporates up. It is colorless, odorless, and not humid. This is the methane gas that protects the liquid water below. It is precisely because of them that the air cannot take the temperature of the moisture and let the water freeze. At this time, all passengers who smoke and carry open flames should leave as soon as they come into contact with these gases, they will explode. After the gas dissipated, we finally saw the liquid water below, filled the kettle, and started sightseeing.
The pond is surrounded by a circle of mountains, the highest of which is Hillary Montis, which is an iceberg as high as Mount Elbert, the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains, the longest mountain in North America, about 4400 Meters high. Rising from the ground on a flat snowy field, in contrast to the bald and black surroundings, Mount Montis is like an independent beauty.
Adventure in the mountains
On the opposite side of Mount Montis is Mount Letmons, which is 4000 meters high and 150 kilometers long. This section of the road you need to drive carefully, because it is presumed that Mount Lightmon is the largest ice volcano in the solar system, or an active ice volcano.
Like ordinary volcanoes, ice volcanoes are the result of geological activities and rock formations. However, it is not hot magma that flows in ice volcanoes, but low-temperature methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. Their “eruptions” are not as intense as ordinary volcanic eruptions, but are like smoking chimneys, emitting puffs of white smoke. The nitrogen ice on the snowy field may be emitted from here. The high pressure and low temperature of these white smoke are no less harmful to humans than magma.
Driving on rocky mountain roads, your headlights can only illuminate a short distance. I don’t know what will happen to the next intersection, plus the slippery frozen road, this will be the whole journey The most thrilling section of the road.
Continue to drive forward, and soon you will see a higher mountain-Mount Picammons, which is 4,500 meters high and is one of the highest peaks of Pluto. In the darkness, the top of Mount Picamos glowed faintly, like a beacon. It turned out that it was also constantly erupting methane, which formed a thick layer of ice on the top of the mountain, reflecting the faint sunlight.
Walking along the cratered ice front, you can vaguely see a thin stream under the ice surface flowing forward, and finally towards the Preritia Valley. If you overlook the Preritia Valley from the air, you will feel it is like a giant spider crawling on the ground. It has six “large legs”, the longest one is 580 kilometers long. In fact, the “big legs” are formed by cracking the mountain peaks after the methane flowing into the valley freezes. The white methane ice spreads hundreds of kilometers and looks like “spider legs” in the air.
Here, you can admire Pluto’s unique landscape-blade-shaped terrain up close. The methane ice ridges stand on the ground, with heights ranging from tens to hundreds of meters. The distance between each piece of ice is 3 to 5 kilometers. Their projection on the nitrogen ice surface looks like a handful of sharp jagged “Blade”, walking between “Blades” will give people the illusion of shooting a blockbuster in a rain of bullets.
From plain to canyon
When you leave the blade-shaped terrain, the color of the ground gradually changes from a bright beige to brown, and there are many huge craters all over, and these craters are basically named after the discoverer. The arrangement of craters is chaotic, which tests the driver’s driving skills. Finally, you drove to a high ground. Looking back, you can’t believe that this is the road you drove on. It looks like a flatbread full of sesame seeds.
Coming to the flattest plateau of Pluto, you can finally relax and enjoy the surrounding scenery. There is only one larger crater-Bernie crater. It is not a deep concave crater, but a set of concentric craters with many smaller impact craters. It seems “Guests” from far away also like to have a “rest” here after a long journey.
You continue to go south, and occasionally stop to admire the Ina Dumuz Canyon, which is deep and long, constantly extending forward. The scenery hasn’t changed much, you feel more and more bored, so that you don’t notice that the color of the ground is getting darker and darker, turning black, you can hardly distinguish the difference between potholes and hills on the road.
You have entered the Crusu Mountain, which is named after the black substance called Crusu’s spot that can be seen everywhere on the road. This is a substance very similar to tar, and the composition is the same as tar, mainly hydrocarbons. The ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun interact with the methane and nitrogen in the atmosphere of Pluto, producing many haze particles. These particles settle and accumulate on the surface of Pluto, but there is no spring wind on Pluto to disperse them, and a thick layer of gram accumulates over time. Lu Suban.
The journey ends in the Virgil Faucer Canyon, which is the longest, deepest and newest canyon on Pluto, extending into the distance invisible to the human eye. The gorge is also very deep, and it’s hard to see the bottom when standing next to it. You can only see the crusu spots piled up on the gorge wall. You have been driving along the canyon for a long, long time, and still haven’t found a way to cross the canyon. It has been so wide, it seems that no place is so narrow that it can be crossed by car. You stopped helplessly and took the last photo of this self-driving tour-a huge crack tearing the surface of Pluto.
At the end of a thrilling self-driving tour, you reluctantly organized the photos of the journey: frozen lakes in the Tombo area, towering ice volcanoes, kilometers of blade terrain, cratered meteorite landforms, and unsightly huge Cracks… If you are tired of seeing the landscape of the earth, you will be able to appreciate a completely different style when you come to Pluto.