Home Science Scientists examine geological processes of Monad Regio on Neptune’s largest moon, Triton

Scientists examine geological processes of Monad Regio on Neptune’s largest moon, Triton

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Global color mosaic of Neptune’s largest moon Triton, taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 in 1989. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS

A recent study published in the journal IcarusA team of researchers from the International Research School of Planetary Sciences (IRSPS) at the D’Annunzio University in Chietipescara, Italy, conducted a geological analysis of a region of Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, known as Monadregio. The geological processes that formed its surface during its history and possibly today. These include what are known as intrinsic and extrinsic processes, which constitute geological processes occurring inside (inner) and outside (external) celestial bodies. So what new insights about planetary geological processes can we gain from this investigation of the Monad Regio?

“Extrinsic geological features such as glaciers, channels, and coastlines characterize the body of the solar system that possessed or possessed a dense atmosphere,” said IRSPS junior scientist and lead author of the study. One Dr. Davide Sulcanese said: , recently told Universe Today. “The surfaces of Earth, Mars, and Titan contain a wide variety of similar features. Amazingly, even the icy moon Triton, one of the most distant and coldest bodies in the solar system, has a surface We have observed that it can be reshaped by extrinsic processes, including ice deposition and flow (but in this case referring to nitrogen ice).”

“Such extrinsic activity has already been observed on another object in the outer solar system, Pluto. High resolution image For the first time, the presence of active glaciers and dendrite channels has been revealed on its surface, which was acquired by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015,” continued Dr. Sulcanese. Ice flow-related features such as glaciers, moraines, ogives and glacier channels have probably played a fundamental role in the rejuvenation of its surface. ”

For this study, researchers created topographic maps at a scale of 1:1,000,000 of the Monad Regio extension. In other words, a measurement of 1 on the map is equivalent to 1 million of the same measurement in Monad Regio.Next, images from NASA’s Voyager 2, a roughness map of the study area, and digital elevation model Conduct a geological analysis of the area. Their findings indicate that the intrinsic stage may be followed by an extrinsic stage, which may help explain the surface features seen today.

“Most of the morphologies we have observed on Triton are the result of geological activity in the Moon’s interior, such as diapirism, eruptive events, faults, cryovolcanism, and the resulting ice lava flows. ,” Dr. Sulcanese recently told Universe Today. “However, after this initial endogenous phase, some of these landforms of the Monadregio are further modified by the deposition and flow of solid and liquid nitrogen, marveling at terrestrial glaciers, moraines, ogives, channels and even coastlines. “The study suggests that an intrinsic process may have been responsible for the resurfacing of the Moon early in its evolutionary history, whereas today’s We point out that it may be extrinsic processes that are responsible for actively reshaping the surface.

“The fact that Triton has so few craters indicates that its surface is very young, geologically speaking,” Dr. Sulcanese recently told Universe Today. “This means that there is some process that has altered, or perhaps still altered, its surface. In Triton’s Antarctic region, the reason for such rejuvenation is likely due to active geyser-like plumes. At Monad Regio (observed by Voyager, the second spacecraft was discovered in 1989), the cause could be the extrinsic processes described above.”

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was the only spacecraft to visit Neptune and its largest moon, Triton, and the only image of Triton is more than 30 years old, Dr. Sarkaneez told Universe Today: I told him so. ”

“To this day, the only information available about the satellite’s surface comes from these images,” Dr. Sulcanese recently told Universe Today. “Many of our findings are made possible thanks to the availability of digital elevation models (DEMs), which are supported by the International Graduate School of Planetary Sciences (IRSPS) (G. d’Annunzio University of Pescara). . It helps us extract new information.”

There are currently no missions scheduled to return to Neptune, but NASA’s Neptune Odyssey mission was one of the NASA Discovery Mission finalists. was chosen instead.

For more information:
Davide Sulcanese et al, Geological analysis of Monad Regio, Triton: possible evidence for endogenous and extrinsic processes, Icarus (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115368

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Universe Today

Quote: Scientists Examine Geologic Processes in the Monad Legio of Triton, Neptune’s Largest Moon (January 31, 2023)

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