Is there life on Pluto? NASA: Giant ice volcanoes discovered on dwarf planet indicate possible existence of underground ocean
According to a new scientific study, the photos taken by NASA in the New Horizon mission, revealed a new surprise – icy volcanoes, reports “CNN”.
“We have found a field of large ice volcanoes that are unlike anything else we have seen in the solar system,” said scientist Kelsey Singer.
According to Singer, what sets these icy volcanoes apart from the rest of our solar system is the fact that there are no calderas at the top (the geological shapes that volcanoes create when they collapse on their own), suggesting that icy volcanoes could be active relatively recently.
The Pluto region where the ice volcanoes were found is located southwest of the Sputnik Planiti ice sheet, which covers an ancient pool that stretches 1,000 kilometers in diameter. CNN.
The two largest ice volcanoes are known as Wright Mons and Picard Mons. Wright Mons is four to five kilometers high and stretches for 150 square kilometers, while Picard Mons reaches about seven kilometers in height and 225 kilometers in width.
Wright Mons is thought to be similar to Hawaii Mauna Loa, one of the largest volcanoes on Earth.
The New Horizon spacecraft flew over the dwarf planet and its Moon in July 2015, and the data then collected are still being redefined. CNN.
Pluto was given the status of a dwarf planet in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union created a new definition of a planet, and this celestial body did not meet the same criteria.
The discovery of these icy volcanoes could suggest that Pluto’s subterranean ocean still exists and that liquid water could be near the surface.
Because, in the opinion of scientists, this dwarf planet has a warmer interior than previously believed, the findings raise intriguing questions about the potential population of this planet, states CNN.
The study of the findings on this topic was published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications.