Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Planetary science

Pluto's polygons explained

The Sputnik Planum basin of Pluto contains a sheet of nitrogen ice, the surface of which is divided into irregular polygons tens of kilometres across. Two studies reveal that vigorous convection causes these polygons. See Letters p.79 & 82

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Sputnik Planum.

NASA/Johns Hopkins Univ. Appl. Physics Lab./ Southwest Res. Inst.

Notes

  1. See all news & views

References

  1. Stern, S. A. et al. Science 350, aad1815 (2015).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Trowbridge, A. J., Melosh, H. J., Steckloff, J. K. & Freed, A. M. Nature 534, 79–81 (2016).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. McKinnon, W. B. et al. Nature 534, 82–85 (2016).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Yamashita, Y., Kato, M. & Arakawa, M. Icarus 207, 972–977 (2010).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Schubert, G., Turcotte, D. & Olson, P. Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001).

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Related audio

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Astronomy: Pluto leads the way in planet formation

Weird and wonderful Pluto spills its secrets

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dombard, A., O'Hara, S. Pluto's polygons explained. Nature 534, 40–41 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/534040a

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/534040a

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing