NASA scientists identified this newfound range of water-ice mountains based on high-res images obtained by the New Horizons spacecraft.
The mountain range is located in the dwarf planet’s heart-shaped feature, called Tombaugh Regio after Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. The mountains rise to about the height of the Appalachian Mountains on Earth, which reach a maximum height of about 6,000 feet.
These Plutonian mountains are smaller than a previously discovered Pluto mountain range, called the Norgay Montes, in honor of the first Nepalese man to scale Mount Everest in 1953.
At heights of about 11,000 feet, the Norgay Montes most closely approximates the height of the Rockies, NASA said.
The newly-discovered mountains were photographed on July 14 when New Horizons was 48,000 miles from Pluto on the day of its closest pass to the dwarf planet. At its nearest point, New Horizons flew about 7,750 miles from the surface of Pluto, collecting a wealth of data as it went along.