Experts have long believed that Pluto, the farthest and smallest planet on our Solar System couldn’t possibly host alien life. However, new research says that liquid oceans underneath the planet’s surface could actually demonstrate the opposite.
A team of researchers conducted by scientists from the University of California Santa Cruz has discovered that the dwarf planet may have been hot when it took shape. The experts examined the images gathered by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and found that there may be liquid water under Pluto’s icy surface.
Ingredients for Life
As per the scientists, the radioactive decay on Pluto may have been sufficiently warm to sustain the existence of these liquid water bodies.
“For a long time, people have thought about the thermal evolution of Pluto and the ability of an ocean to survive to the present day. Now that we have images of Pluto’s surface from NASA’s New Horizons mission, we can compare what we see with the predictions of different thermal evolution models,” said Earth and planetary sciences Professor Francis Nimmo of UCSC, who is also the research’s co-author.
Dr. Carver Bierson of UCSC also said that based on their analyzsesthere is a high probablitly Pluto had liquid oceans in its early formations as the planet would contract if it took shape cold and the ice melted within. Dr. Bierson further noted that planets like Pluto, in spite of being far from the Sun, may have been shaped quickly with liquid oceans.
“We see lots of evidence of expansion, but we don’t see any evidence of compression, so the observations are more consistent with Pluto starting with a liquid ocean. Even in this cold environment so far from the sun, all these worlds might have formed fast and hot – with liquid oceans. By examining Pluto’s features today we can begin to understand its birth four and a half billion years ago. We are pretty sure water is one of the ingredients for life,” Bierson concluded.