Pluto May Be Hiding Oceans Underneath Its Frozen Exterior
Dan Nosowitz
at 19:15 PM Sep 17 2011
Pluto, With Charon in the Foreground

According to some tricky calculations from Guillaume Robuchon and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pluto may actually have a liquid ocean underneath its frigid, -230 °C exterior.

It's mostly speculation, but the reasoning is pretty sound: if Pluto's rocky core has a certain level of potassium, "its decay could produce enough heat to melt some of the overlaying ice," says New Scientist. The assumption is that Pluto does, since the Earth has 10 times that amount despite being closer to the sun and therefore likely having much less potassium in its core than Pluto. We just hope having an ocean makes Pluto feel better about not being a planet anymore. 

[New Scientist]

comments powered by Disqus
Filed under:
Sign up for the Pop Sci newsletter
Australian Popular Science
PopSci Live