“Our interpretation is that material in the right lobe — the source for that material — is coming from the western [or left] lobe,” said Alan Stern, who is the New Horizons principal investigator, during the NASA television announcement today.
Basically, NASA believes that there is some process on Pluto — possibly wind — that is transporting material from the left lobe across the surface and is then landing farther east to form the right lobe. This “mind-blowing” — as Stern puts it — false-color image highlights the difference between the two lobes nicely.
The team still suspects that the ligh-coloring of the feature could be coming from nitrogen snow, Stern added. What’s even more exciting are the latest close-up shots of the region informally called “Sputnik Planum,” which is a smaller section toward the bottom of the Pluto’s heart, carved out below.