Like Pluto's get liquid water Ocean hidden beneath the surface - Physics-Astronomy.org

Like Pluto's get liquid water Ocean hidden beneath the surface

It’s simple to feel  sorry  for Pluto since it got demoted to non-planet status back in 2006, but if anything, our favourite cosmic misfit has only gotten more interesting since it broke out on its own.
Studies suggest it’s got strange gravity waves, a beating heart, and the way it interacts with solar winds is unlike anything astronomers have seen in our Solar System. And now it looks like it’s like a flowing, subterranean ocean.
If that strikes you as a little odd, yep, it’s super weird. How can a planet that sits nearly 6 billon km (3.67 billion miles) away from the Sun not be frozen to the core?
That question has been bugging scientists since NASA’s New Horizons probe made its flyby of Pluto last July and found evidence of tectonic activity upsetting its frigid surface that could only really be explained by a subterranean ocean sloshing below.
And now a new model confirms what NASA scientists have suspected, by revealing how Pluto would basically shrivel up like an overripe peach if it didn’t have a liquid water giving its frozen crust a bit of room to move.
As Maddie Stone explains over at Gizmodo, when New Horizons sent back the clearest images ever captured of Pluto’s surface, there was a strange lack of what scientists refer to as compressional tectonic features, which are expected to form if the inner layers of liquid had frozen into a denser form called ice II.
"The formation of ice II would cause Pluto to experience volume contraction and compressional tectonic features to form on the surface," one of the team behind the model, Noah P. Hammond from Brown University, told the press.
In other words, Hammond’s simulations showed that if Pluto’s liquid ocean had frozen solid, it would have been crushed by the heavy outer shell into a dense ice II form.
Ice II is weird in that it shrinks as it freezes, rather than expanding like regular ice, so if Pluto had an ice II ocean beneath its icy crust, it would have caused the whole thing to shrivel up from the inside, in ways that would have been obvious on the surface.
"Since the tectonic features on Pluto’s surface are all extensional and there is no obvious compressional features, it suggests that ice II has not formed, and that therefore, Pluto’s subsurface ocean has likely survived to present day," says Hammond.
Watch:Like Pluto's get liquid water Ocean hidden beneath the surface


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