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Triton: Topography and Geology of a Probable Ocean World with Comparison to Pluto and Charon

Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX 77058, USA
SETI Institute, Palo Alto, CA 94020, USA
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85202, USA
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85641, USA
Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85704, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91001, USA
National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, MO 63101, USA
Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20707, USA
Humanities Division, Roane State Community College, Harriman, TN 37748, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrea Nass and Stephan van Gasselt
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(17), 3476;
Received: 26 May 2021 / Revised: 20 August 2021 / Accepted: 28 August 2021 / Published: 1 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cartography of the Solar System: Remote Sensing beyond Earth)
The topography of Neptune’s large icy moon Triton could reveal important clues to its internal evolution, but has been difficult to determine. New global digital color maps for Triton have been produced as well as topographic data for <40% of the surface using stereogrammetry and photoclinometry. Triton is most likely a captured Kuiper Belt dwarf planet, similar though slightly larger in size and density to Pluto, and a likely ocean moon that exhibited plume activity during Voyager 2′s visit in 1989. No surface features or regional deviations of greater than ±1 km amplitude are found. Volatile ices in the southern terrains may take the form of extended lobate deposits 300–500 km across as well as dispersed bright materials that appear to embay local topography. Limb hazes may correlate with these deposits, indicating possible surface–atmosphere exchange. Triton’s topography contrasts with high relief up to 6 km observed by New Horizons on Pluto. Low relief of (cryo)volcanic features on Triton contrasts with high-standing massifs on Pluto, implying different viscosity materials. Solid-state convection occurs on both and at similar horizontal scales but in very different materials. Triton’s low relief is consistent with evolution of an ice shell subjected to high heat flow levels and may strengthen the case of an internal ocean on this active body. View Full-Text
Keywords: Triton; ocean world; Neptune; topography; cartography; Pluto Triton; ocean world; Neptune; topography; cartography; Pluto
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schenk, P.M.; Beddingfield, C.B.; Bertrand, T.; Bierson, C.; Beyer, R.; Bray, V.J.; Cruikshank, D.; Grundy, W.M.; Hansen, C.; Hofgartner, J.; Martin, E.; McKinnon, W.B.; Moore, J.M.; Robbins, S.; Runyon, K.D.; Singer, K.N.; Spencer, J.; Stern, S.A.; Stryk, T. Triton: Topography and Geology of a Probable Ocean World with Comparison to Pluto and Charon. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 3476.

AMA Style

Schenk PM, Beddingfield CB, Bertrand T, Bierson C, Beyer R, Bray VJ, Cruikshank D, Grundy WM, Hansen C, Hofgartner J, Martin E, McKinnon WB, Moore JM, Robbins S, Runyon KD, Singer KN, Spencer J, Stern SA, Stryk T. Triton: Topography and Geology of a Probable Ocean World with Comparison to Pluto and Charon. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(17):3476.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schenk, Paul M., Chloe B. Beddingfield, Tanguy Bertrand, Carver Bierson, Ross Beyer, Veronica J. Bray, Dale Cruikshank, William M. Grundy, Candice Hansen, Jason Hofgartner, Emily Martin, William B. McKinnon, Jeffrey M. Moore, Stuart Robbins, Kirby D. Runyon, Kelsi N. Singer, John Spencer, S. A. Stern, and Ted Stryk. 2021. "Triton: Topography and Geology of a Probable Ocean World with Comparison to Pluto and Charon" Remote Sensing 13, no. 17: 3476.

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