From moving lights in the night sky, we now understand that planets, moons and dwarf planets are actual places. Some of them have weather, auroras and other features that are similar to Earth. One key to help us better understand a world's history is by charting its terrain. By figuring out what kinds of ground there are and how high they are, we can begin to trace events such as impacts and mountain-building. Here are a few cool geology maps from around the solar system.
PHOTOS: Dive Onto Pluto's High-Resolution Landscape
We didn't know much about Pluto at all until the New Horizons spacecraft flew past the dwarf planet last year. Today, high-resolution pictures are still flowing back to us from deep space. This recent example shows a nitrogen-ice plain that is informally called Sputnik Planum. You can see many different types of terrain, ranging from mountains to hills to nitrogen-ice plains. NASA wrote that this research
helps scientists identify which of these features formed first
. "For example," the agency said, "the yellow craters (at left, on the western edge of the map) must have formed after their surrounding terrain."