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Space & Astronomy

Further evidence found of ocean on Pluto

November 17, 2016 | Comment icon 7 comments



Did a crater filled with water cause Pluto to tip over ? Image Credit: NASA
It is looking increasingly likely that the dwarf planet is home to a vast subterranean ocean of water.
The latest evidence centers around a heart-shaped feature on Pluto's surface known as Tombaugh Regio which is believed to have been formed by a meteorite impact millions of years ago.

Stretching over 1,000km across Sputnik Planitia - an ice-covered equatorial basin - Pluto's 'heart' has helped scientists learn more about what might be going on underneath the surface.

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding this region is how it came to be facing directly away from Pluto's largest moon Charon - a configuration that is unlikely to have occurred purely by chance.
Now two new research papers have put forward the idea that Pluto may have actually tipped over.

The reason for this, scientists argue, is that slushy water from a subterranean ocean on Pluto may have filled in the crater left behind by the meteorite impact, creating a "positive gravitational anomaly" responsible for rolling the dwarf panet over on to its side.

This vast subterranean sea is thought to be as big as all of Earth's oceans put together.

The cracks observed in Pluto's icy crust also seem to fit in with this hypothesis.



Source: The Guardian | Comments (7)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Merc14 6 years ago
Curiouser and curiouser.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Yes, Pluto is looking more interesting than Mars right now.  It's a shame it takes so long to get there.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Define "interesting". Different scientists with different specialities will be interested in very different worlds. To make the blanket statement that Pluto is more interesting than Mars is blatantly nonsense.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Merc14 6 years ago
I think they are both very interesting but for very different reasons.  I would say that Pluto is the bigger surprise as I can't think of anyone predicting how very different that planetoid is than what we all expected; it will certainly provide years of research and is, even now, changing the way we think about KB objects.  Mars is interesting because it is far more likely to have humans roaming it, maybe in some of our lifetimes, than anything in the KB.   It is far more earth-like and there fore provides a relatively close planet that we can test exoplanets against.  The more data we have o... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Come on em driiiiive, come on!  You better be tested sooon and found to actually work! 
Comment icon #6 Posted by AdealJustice 6 years ago
why so harsh bro . Was an innocent statement. in my view all space related stuff is interesting.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
He's not harsh, he's just drawn that way


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