New Horizons data suggests mountains of nitrogen ice on Pluto have evaporated

Peering closely at the "heart of Pluto," in the western half of what missino scientists have informally named Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), New Horizons' Ralph instrument revealed evidence of carbon monoxide ice. The countours indicate that the concentration of frozen carbon monoxide increases towards the center of the "bull's eye." (NASA)

You did get to honor Pluto’s discovery in Flagstaff by naming regions for Percival Lowell, who established the observatory there, and Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto.

I’m glad we could do that. I think we made a lot of people happy.

Frankly, I think what the IAU (International Astronomical Union) did (in classifying Pluto a dwarf planet) disrespected some very important work and diminished the importance of, not just that planet, but the unbelievable accomplishment of Clyde Tombaugh in doing that in an age, by today’s comparison, of Stone-Age technology.

So the biggest and brightest feature on the planet, which we can see from 100 million miles away like a shining beacon, will be forever Tombaugh Regio.

Doesn’t the name have to be ratified by your friends at the International Astronomical Union?

I’m not worried about that. They wouldn’t dare ...

Annette and Alden Tombaugh, the children of American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh who discovered Pluto in 1930, talk at the New Horizons Pluto flyby event, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 19, 2006. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)