New Research Hypothesis: Frigid Pluto May Have Been A Hot Planet

Pluto may have been a warm place when it was born, with an underground ocean that exists today, researchers say.

Through the analysis of NASA’s new horizons probe on the surface of the Pluto in 2015 images, as well as to the dwarf planet internal structure of the computer simulation results, the researchers put forward such an idea, or about 4.5 billion years ago, at the start of the solar system including earth formed, Pluto had a “hot start”.

“When Pluto forms, new material arrives here and hits its surface,” said Carver Pilson, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Each impact is like an explosion that heats up the surrounding area.”


“If Pluto forms slowly, its surface cools off in the gap between impacts, usually staying very cold,” Bilson says. If Pluto forms so quickly that one impact is followed by another, its surface won’t have time to cool down. We calculated that if Pluto had formed in less than 30,000 years, the heat from these impacts might have been enough to form an early ocean.”

Pluto could have an icy crust hundreds of miles thick, with an ocean of water, possibly mixed with salt and ammonia, and a hard rock core beneath, Bilson said. Pluto is in a region known as the Kuiper Belt, orbiting the sun about 40 times farther away than Earth.

Since water is seen as a key ingredient for life to exist, an underground ocean could make Pluto an unlikely candidate for living organisms, the report said.