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NASA's New Horizons Discovers Second Mountain Range in Pluto's 'Heart'

NASA's New Horizons probe sent back this image of a newly discovered icy mountain range located in the "heart" of Pluto.

NASA's New Horizons probe sent back this image of a newly discovered icy mountain range located in the "heart" of Pluto.

Reaching about a half-mile to one mile high, the peaks are similar in height to the Appalachian Mountains and are located on the southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio -- the heart-shaped region named after the man who discovered Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh.

Taken by New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14, the image took nearly a week to make its way back to Earth.

The newly discovered mountain range sits about 68 miles away from Norgay Montes, also known as the Norgay Mountains, which are closer in height to the Rocky Mountains. It's also just west of the icy Sputnik Planum, or Sputnik Plain, a relatively young area that is probably less than 100 million years old.

In contrast, the darker region west of the newly discovered mountain range could date back billions of years, NASA said.

Related: New Horizons' Latest: Fly Over Pluto's Ice Mountains and Alien Plains

“There is a pronounced difference in texture between the younger, frozen plains to the east and the dark, heavily-cratered terrain to the west,” Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team, said in a statement. “There’s a complex interaction going on between the bright and the dark materials that we’re still trying to understand.”