News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Neptune's Icy Cold Satellite Comes to Life

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Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 383-385
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.383

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Planetary scientists are now realizing that Neptune's moon Triton, is still showing signs of life. The realization is all the more startling because it is based on reanalyses of 10-year-old observations. Triton's meager heat from lingering radioactive decay, researchers assume, can still melt its interior of exotic ices to produce lavas or otherwise reshape and renew the surface. Recent telescopic observations even hint that geologic activity has made itself evident in recent years.