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Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults

Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults

April 15, 2014 - In July 2015, we get our first close look at the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon, Charon, a fact that has scientists hypothesizing more than ever about what we might see there.

Astronomy leaders vote to take away Pluto's planetary status, leaving the solar system with eight celestial bodies.

One of the latest ideas put forward is that perhaps the collision that likely formed Pluto and Charon heated the interior of Pluto enough to give it an internal liquid water ocean, which also gave the small world a short-lived plate tectonics system, like that of Earth.

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“We predict that when New Horizons gets there it will see evidence of ancient tectonism,” said Brown University's Amy Barr, coauthor of a new paper with Geoffrey Collins in the latest issue of the journal Icarus. By "ancient," Barr means sometime way back during the first billion years of the solar system's history.

Barr and Collins modeled the Pluto-Charon system based on the idea that the initial collision of the two bodies would have generated enough heat to melt the interior of Pluto creating ocean that would have survived for quite a while under an icy crust.

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Pluto might have harbored an ancient liquid ocean and icy tectonic plates

Tiny Pluto is out there at the edge of the solar system all alone, but company is on the way. NASA' s New Horizons probe is speeding toward Pluto's neck of the woods with cameras prepped to capture the first ever close-up images of its icy surface. What will we see when New Horizons makes its approach in July of 2015? Astronomers are speculating...

Will We Discover Underground Oceans on Pluto in 2015?

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