An image of Charon taken by the New Horizons probe. Image Credit: NASA
New images from the New Horizons probe suggest that Charon once had a sub-surface ocean of liquid water.
Situated 3.6 billion miles away in the cold, distant reaches of the solar system, the small world of Pluto had always seemed like an unlikely place to find signs of liquid water.
Now though scientists have revealed that not only is there evidence of water on Pluto, its moon Charon may have also been home to a sub-surface ocean of liquid water in the distant past.
The discovery was made thanks to images returned by NASA's New Horizons probe which show huge faults and chasms on Charon's surface - some four times deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Scientists believe that these huge geological features were formed when Charon's sub-surface ocean froze and expanded - pushing the surface up from beneath and creating huge fractures.
"We thought the probability of seeing such interesting features on this satellite of a world at the far edge of our solar system was low," said SETI planetary scientist Ross Beyer.
"But I couldn't be more delighted with what we see."
Source: The Verge | Comments (5)
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