Wright Mons Volcano in Pluto


    In Context 

    Pluto has giant ice volcano like Wright Mons that could hint at the possibility of life

    • As per report which shows that icy lava flows have recently covered substantial tracts of its surface

    About Wright Mons Volcano

    • It was spotted on the surface of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015.
    • It was informally named by the New Horizons team in honour of the Wright brothers.
    • It is about 150km across its base and has a central depression (a hole) 40-50km wide, with a floor at least as low as the surrounding terrain.
    • It rises 4-5km above its surroundings
    • Its volume exceeds 20 thousand cubic kilometres
      • It is  considerably less than the volume of Mars’s biggest volcanoes.
    • The slopes of Wright Mons and much of its surroundings are seen to be crowded with hummocks up to 1km high and mostly 6-12km across.
      •  These hummocks are made primarily of water-ice, rather than nitrogen- or methane-ice that covers some other young regions on Pluto. 
      • The hummocks were likely created by some sort of ice volcanism, known by the technical term “cryovolcanism” — erupting icy water rather than molten rock. 

    Other volcano 

    • Piccard Mons : It is less well characterised than Wright Mons because, by the time New Horizons made its closest approach, Pluto’s rotation had carried Piccard Mons into darkness
    • The flyby was so fast that only the side of Pluto facing the Sun at the right time could be seen in detail. 
    • However, New Horizons was able to image Piccard Mons thanks to sunlight weakly reflected onto the ground by haze in Pluto’s atmosphere.


    • It is a dwarf planet. 
      • A dwarf planet travels around, or orbits, the sun just like other planets. But it is much smaller.
    • Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. He was an astronomer from the United States. 
      • Venetia Burney named Pluto that same year. She was an 11-year-old girl from England.
    • Pluto is not very big. It is only half as wide as the United States. 
      • Pluto is smaller than Earth’s moon. 
    • This dwarf planet takes 248 Earth years to go around the sun
    • Pluto is in an area of space called the Kuiper (KY-per) Belt. 
      • Thousands of small, icy objects like Pluto but smaller are in the Kuiper Belt.
    • Pluto is very, very cold. It is much colder than Antarctica. 
      • It is so cold that Earth’s air would freeze into a kind of snow there.
    • Pluto has less gravity than Earth. This means a person would weigh much less on Pluto than on Earth.