Pluto’s ice: 97% nitrogen, 3% methane

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More results from the press conference going on right now at the 42nd meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences:

Pluto’s surface ice is made up of 97% nitrogen, 3% methane, while the surface of the Kuiper Belt object Eris (which is larger than Pluto) is even more rich in methane, with a make up of 90% nitrogen and 10% methane. Both measurements go down to a depth of about 10 inches. To see the abstract for this result, go here.


One comment

  • It is important to remember that the estimated total composition of Pluto is about 75 percent rock. I don’t know if we have a comparable estimate for Eris, as it is currently near aphelion and much further away than Pluto. However, both these objects are planets, as can be seen from the fact that they are dynamic worlds with geology and weather.

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