New visions of Pluto have shown evidence of an ocean below the surface. The discovery was made by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which has been studying the deep reaches of the Solar System. The ocean is belived to be under the crust of Sputnik Planita, an area of the dwarf planet that aligns with Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. This has made astronomers speculate that the two celestial bodies are tidally locked by the heart-shaped feature on Pluto’s surface.
The ocean isn’t water and is instead believed to be nitrogen ice. It could be up to 10 kilometres thick and in the past the heavy feature may have caused Pluto to roll over.
Images credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI and Pam Engebretson