Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar
The Pluto System as Revealed by New Horizons
Dr. Kelsi Singer - Postdoctoral Researcher, Southwest Research Institute
Abstract: In July of 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system, completing humanity’s reconnaissance of the classical planets. Pluto turned out to be a world of remarkable geologic diversity, and its terrains display a range of ages, suggesting geologic activity of various forms has persisted for much of Pluto’s history. Pluto’s atmosphere was found to be more compact, and with lower escape rates, than previously predicted. Hi-phase images looking back at Pluto’s atmosphere led to the discovery of numerous haze layers. We are in the beginning stages of understanding this complex world, but I will highlight what we have learned so far and present the latest images and results. I will also discuss in more detail my work on the crater retention ages of the different surface units of Pluto and its moons, and some of the unique geologic features seen on Pluto and Charon, including a putative cryovolcano.
Bio: Dr. Kelsi Singer is a postdoctoral researcher at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO working on NASA’s New Horizons mission. Dr. Singer’s graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis focused on the geology and geophysics of icy satellites, and she also studies impact cratering across the solar system.