Brown researcher guides study of Pluto’s ocean

A new study has revealed new information about the ocean beneath Pluto's surface. | File photo
Evidence of a liquid ocean beneath the icy surface of Pluto has been growing since New Horizons, a NASA spacecraft, flew past the dwarf planet last year.

Researchers have now made a new estimation of how thick the liquid layer covering Pluto’s surface could be by studying thermal models of the impact dynamics formed by an enormous crater on the dwarf planet’s surface.

“Thermal models of Pluto’s interior and tectonic evidence found on the surface suggest that an ocean may exist, but it’s not easy to infer its size or anything else about it,” Brown University assistant professor David Johnson, who is leading the study, said. “We’ve been able to put some constraints on its thickness and get some clues about composition.”

The study was recently published by Geophysical Research Letters and has discovered that there is a possibility that the ocean of water beneath the surface of Pluto is 62 miles deep. The study also maintains that the ocean is composed of the salt content similar to the Dead Sea.

The research was conducted on the famous heart-shaped Sputnik Planum, located on the western lobe of the planet.

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