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According to new scientific research, images of Pluto made by NASA’s New Horizons mission have revealed a new surprise: icy volcanoes, reports CNN.

“We found a field of very large ice volcanoes that look like nothing we’ve seen in the solar system,” said Kelsey Singer, a senior fellow at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado.

According to Singer, what distinguishes these ice volcanoes from others in our solar system is the fact that they have no calderas at the top (geological shapes that volcanoes create when they collapse on their own), suggesting that ice volcanoes have been relatively active recently.

The Pluto region, where icy volcanoes have been found, is located southwest of the Sputnik Planitia ice sheet, which covers an ancient basin that stretches 1,000 kilometers in diameter, according to CNN.

The two largest ice volcanoes are known as Wright Mons and Picard Mons. Wright Mons is four to five kilometers high and covers 150 square kilometers, while Picard Mons reaches about seven kilometers in height and 225 kilometers in width.

Wright Mons is considered to be similar in volume to Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, which is one of the largest volcanoes on Earth.

The New Horizons spacecraft flew over the dwarf planet and its moons in July 2015, and the data it collected at the time still redefines everything scientists know about Pluto, CNN reports.

Pluto was given the status of a dwarf planet in 2006, when the International Astronomical Union created a new definition of a planet, and this celestial body did not meet the criteria.

The discovery of these icy volcanoes may suggest that Pluto’s subterranean ocean still exists and that liquid water may be close to the surface.

Because, according to scientists, this dwarf planet has a warmer interior than previously thought, the findings raise intriguing questions about the potential population of this celestial body, according to CNN.

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