NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took this incredible image of frozen canyons at Pluto’s North Pole that seem to indicate an ancient period of tectonic activity on the dwarf planet.
Known as the Lowell Regio, Pluto’s north pole is streaked with enormous canyons that can be seen running vertically across the left side of the photo. The largest, which is about 45 miles wide at its largest point and is surrounded by smaller canyons about six miles wide.
The degraded walls of these canyons appear to be much older than the more sharply defined canyon systems elsewhere on Pluto, which could represent evidence for tectonic activity.
The image was snapped by New Horizons’ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera around 45 minutes before the spacecraft’s closest approach to the planet last July.
After its Pluto flyby, New Horizons was sent to study other objects in the Kuiper Belt. It is expected to reach Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU in January of 2019.