02 Dec '16, 7pm

Could There Be Life In Pluto's Ocean?

Pluto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which is not so much a sign of water as it is a tremendous clue that other dwarf planets in deep space also may contain similarly exotic oceans, naturally leading to the question of life, said one co-investigator with NASA's New Horizon mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. William McKinnon, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and a co-author on two of four new Pluto studies published Dec. 1 in Nature , argues that beneath the heart-shaped region on Pluto known as Sputnik Planitia there lies an ocean laden with ammonia. The presence of the pungent, colorless liquid helps to explain not only Pluto's orientation in space but also the persistence of the massive, ice-capped ocean that other researchers call "slushy"—but McKinnon prefers to depict as syrupy. Using comp...

Full article: https://www.ecnmag.com/news/2016/12/could-there-be-life-p...

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https://t.co/k8FRl4ehc3

nature.org 15 Dec '16, 12am

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