Sprawling across Pluto is an unusual geological feature that resembles a spider, underneath which are noticeable red deposits.
The feature consists of at least six extensional fractures converging to a point near the center.
“The pattern these fractures form is like nothing else we’ve seen in the outer solar system, and shows once again that anywhere we look on Pluto, we see something different,” said Oliver White, a member of the New Horizons geology team from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
The longest fractures are aligned roughly north-south, and the longest of all, the informally named Sleipnir Fossa, is more than 360 miles (580 kilometers) long. The fracture aligned east-west is shorter and is less than 60 miles (100 kilometers) long.
NASA believes the fractures forming the “spider” may be caused by a focused source of stress in the crust under the point where the fractures converge.