Pluto Might Have Underlying Ocean

Pluto reminds one of rock-solid frozen ice. However, Noah Hammond, a PhD student at Brown University, has a different view. He states that information beamed back by unmanned New Horizons deep-space probe of NASA in 2015 suggested that the dwarf planet might be hiding a subsurface ocean, which is like the ones assumed to subsist on a few moons of Jupiter.

This hidden ocean might be the reason behind the bizarre surface features. New Horizons crossed its path with Pluto on July 14, 2015. Despite, as small duration of stumbling on the planet, the unmanned probe came back with astonishing data about the planet. The data was different from the expected featureless ice world with weird drift of frozen oxygen snow. The data revealed images of a complicated landscape, which had been extremely active lately in term of geology.

The images exhibited methane-snow covered mountain peaks, plains, hundreds of kilometers long rifts and extraordinary pillowy mounds. Pluto’s thermal evolution models were updated by Hammond using the data from New Horizons. For oceans to exist, it is necessary to have sufficient heat to maintain water in its liquid state.

Hammond suggests that it is getting heat from somewhere because otherwise the planet would have got compressed millions of years ago. But, the strange surface formations on Pluto suggest the massive expansion of the planet and it is in line with the existence of an ocean trapped under the icy crust.

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