Photo: Alex Parker / NASA
An international team of planetary scientists from Japan and the USA found that under the surface of Pluto may be a liquid ocean protected from freezing by an insulating layer. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
The researchers analyzed that can keep the heat in sea water, thus keeping the inner surface of the ice shell is uneven. According to the results of computer simulation under a frozen layer must be a layer of gas hydrates — crystalline solids, formed from gas and water. They are very viscous, have low thermal conductivity and therefore have insulating properties.
Without the insulating layer of the subsurface ocean would have frozen hundreds of millions of years ago. Most likely the gas component is methane with a rocky core of Pluto. Such gas hydrate layers can ensure the existence of liquid water on other planets outside the Solar system.
In 2015, the NASA spacecraft New Horizons has provided pictures of Pluto, including pictures of the Plains Companion — the icy plains formed by frozen nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. Given its location and topography, scientists have suggested that under it there is a subsurface ocean. However, this version was initially considered as improbable, because he had to freeze for a long time.
Video, photo All from Russia.