back to article The ice must flow: Dunes of frozen gas spotted on alien dwarf

Dunes of methane ice grains have been discovered on Pluto after scientists studied snaps taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. That's according to a paper published in the journal Science today. New Horizons, launched over a decade ago in 2006, has allowed boffins to conduct the most detailed study of the largest dwarf …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    Bring it on!

    Are we going to have the usual fight about what Pluto is?

    As far as I can tell it's not even a dwarf planet, just a crappy Kuiper belt object and not special at all.

    There I said it. Come at me.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on!

      Not really bothered on the 'Save Pluto' front, but I do remember, years ago, reading that, although a ninth planet had been predicted from planertary perturbation (gravitic influence on orbital motion not accounted for by observed masses) for many years, Pluto did not appear to have either the mass or the orbit to account for these effects.

      Essentially, there was an undiscovered planetary mass (or lots of small masses in a relatively small region), which was the real 'planet nine', and whatever Pluto might be, it certainly wasn't that.

      Does anyone else remember that, or have I been carrying around my own personal Mandela effect for all these years?

      1. stuartnz

        Re: Bring it on!

        Since this article was mostly about grains of sand, maybe it was a Mandala effect? :)

      2. Saruman the White

        Re: Bring it on!

        No, you are right. What you may have forgotten (or just not been aware of) is that NASA was able to make very accurate measurements of the mass of Uranus and Neptune when Voyager-2 made it's close approaches to them. They discovered that Neptune's mass was significantly different from the first estimate made by astronomers (I think it was about 4% heavier); when they dropped that into the orbital motion calculations the unknown perturbation disappeared.

      3. eromana

        Re: Bring it on!

        Interesting : ".... lots of small masses in a relatively small region... which was the real 'planet nine'..."

        After some Goggling I found this: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1603.09008.pdf

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bring it on!

      >Are we going to have the usual fight about what Pluto is?

      It's a cartoon character dog not to be confused with Bluto who is Popeye's nemesis, problem solved.

      1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Bring it on!

        Then the hidden 9th planet is likely called Goofy... also a dog but takes Pluto out on a leash for walks(orbits).

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on!

      I think we can all agree Pluto* ain't the kind of place to raise your kids....

      [* with apologies in advance to Mars and the Taupin-John co-orbital system]

  2. SVV Silver badge

    Ecological catastrophe due to Clangers intensive farming practices

    Sadly they are the remnants of the rear end methane emissions of a too-large Sky Moo herd.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ecological catastrophe due to Clangers intensive farming practices

      So not the rear emissions of an enormous mutant star-goat then.

      1. SVV Silver badge

        Re: Ecological catastrophe due to Clangers intensive farming practices

        No, whilst Minter's theories are expressed eloquently through the medium of computer games, they cannot hope to match the authoratative stature of a BBC Michael Palin travel documentary.

      2. onefang Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Ecological catastrophe due to Clangers intensive farming practices

        "too-large Sky Moo herd"

        "the rear emissions of an enormous mutant star-goat"

        Dunno which it is, but something smells really bad about both those theories.

        I'll get my coat, it's the one airing out on the balcony.

  3. FireBurn
    Coat

    Size Matters

    Pluto is the second biggest dwarf planet in the solar system, the biggest being Eris, because size matters

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Size Matters

      Current reckoning is that Eris has a greater mass than Pluto but Pluto is a little larger, and therefore less dense, than Eris.

  4. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Alien

    I just hope...

    That when we do eventualy find the Ninth Planet. We will name it Persephone and, more commony named Rupert after the discover's pet Parrort.

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Back to the topic in hand...

    Brilliant, brilliant science and technology.

  6. Paul Herber

    Where there are dunes surely there must be giant worms!

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Giant, icy worms and a warrior-like band of free men. And a prophet. And a cross-generational conspiracy. Damn, that was a good book.

      1. Paul Herber

        Damn, that was a good book ^H^H^H^H trilogy ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H give-up on how many.

        FTFY.

  7. Zebo-the-Fat

    Pluto is cool!

  8. 89724102371719511892724I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    Uranus is cold.

  9. onefang Silver badge

    There's a few ways of warming that up.

    1. 89724102371719511892724I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

      The less I know about what you purport have knowledge of, the better.

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