Early last year, Pluto's "heart" was discovered and it made the world coo at the dwarf planet. Though removed under the classification of what counts as a "real" planet, the dwarf planet continues to astound as scientists find that even so far away from the heat of the sun, Pluto actually has liquid water.
Due to the distance of Pluto from the sun, it should only contain layers upon layers of ice. But last year, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) New Horizon spacecraft flew past it, scientists began to suspect that there might be a subsurface ocean.
Since the discovery of Pluto's heart, a team led by Brandon Johnson, an assistant professor in Brown University, focused on getting to know the Sputnik Planum or the western lobe of the heart. The team believed that the love was caused by an asteroid impact. But the interesting and more pressing question arose when the Planum demonstrated positive mass instead of the opposite.
"An impact crater is basically a hole in the ground. You're taking a bunch of material and blasting it out, so you expect it to have negative mass anomaly, but that's not what we see with Sputnik Planum," said Johnson, as reported by Express.
Pluto once again defies expectations and instead shows that the crate has positive mass as a result of the meteor which in turn caused the subsurface ocean to even out across the dwarf planet. Because it was so astounding, natural curiosity took over and the scientists wanted to "run computer models of the impact to see if this is something that would actually happen."
The results of their tests yielded and stated that the production of a positive mass anomaly is sensitive to how thick, how salty, and how dense the water is. Thus, the ocean layer of at least 100 kilometers "has to be there."
Though the thermal models of Pluto's structure do suggest the existence of a liquid ocean, scientists are still on the lookout of important information that can explain how it is possible in the first place. Once again, Pluto astounds the scientific community, and we wouldn't have it any other way.