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     Elbrusy and the Mariana trench: published final 3D maps of Pluto and Charon
    on Wednesday 11 July 2018
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    After processing all the received data, scientists have published in open access three-dimensional map of the most distant celestial bodies to which ever reached the spacecraft.

    After processing all the received data, scientists have published in open access three-dimensional map of the most distant celestial bodies to which ever reached the spacecraft. General conclusions about the topography of Pluto and Charon is presented in two scientific articles, published in the journal Icarus.

    Recall that the apparatus of the New horizons close to Pluto in 2015. Mankind first received detailed images of the surface of a distant world and its largest moon Charon. To do this it was not known whether these bodies mountains, valleys, and even impact craters.

    Transfer all collected data to Earth via the "narrow" communication channel has occupied many days. With each new portion of information, the quality of the card improved. A lot of effort is needed in order to compare data from two cameras (LORRI and MVIC). In addition, the researchers collate the overlapping image and it built a three-dimensional map.

    "It was one of the most challenging but the most exciting project mapping the planets in which I had the pleasure to participate. Every time a new image, open something new, – says the first author of both articles, Paul Schenk (Paul Schenk) from the Association of universities for space research. The first thing we need to do is to understand the behavior of two different image processing systems to obtain reliable topographic maps".

    The first article is devoted to the mapping of Pluto. Two-dimensional maps were obtained for 78% of its surface and three-dimensional for 42%. The accuracy of elevation measurements was about one kilometer.

    According to the data obtained, the highest mountains of Pluto rise along the South-Western border of the Plain of the Satellite. These ice cliffs have a slope of 40° or more. The highest peak rises about six miles. Thus, it is comparable with Elbrus and Kilimanjaro, maybe above them.

    On Pluto everything is made of ice (water, methane or nitrogen). But such a high mountain can be folded only frozen water: solid methane and nitrogen are not strong enough for this.

    On the other hand, on the outskirts of the Plains Satellite is located and the lower point of the surface of Pluto. Depressions here have a depth of 3.5 kilometers. And near the Western boundary of the same plain stretches completely destroyed ridge and the chute. It stretches from North to South for more than 3000 kilometers. This is one of the largest landforms on Pluto, and its nature is not yet clear.

    Many interesting things scientists learned about the Charon, which is dedicated to the second article. 3D map covered 40% of its surface. The height of parts of the terrain were measured with an accuracy of up to one hundred meters.

    It turned out that Charon is incredibly cut up by mountains and valleys. The total elevation is 19 kilometers. Approximately the same value observed on the Ground (the height of mount Everest and the depth of the Mariana trench in the sum of about 20 kilometers). But for the icy body of medium size is almost a record. Even more extreme terrain is only observed on Saturn's moon yapet.

    Depression at the North pole reach 14 kilometers deep. The Northern and southern plains of Charon shares the trench with a depth of eight kilometers. But the size of craters on Charon moderate. The largest one is 250 kilometers in diameter and 6 kilometers in depth.

    Now scientists have to understand the data and, perhaps, to restore the geological history of the "far guards" of the Solar system.

    We will remind that earlier "News.Science" (nauka.vesti.ru) talked about the map of Saturn's moon Titan and on three-dimensional mapping of the ice of Mars.

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