There is a very real possibility that Pluto may once have had flowing streams and pools of liquid nitrogen.
The New Horizons spacecraft is well on its way beyond the confines of the solar system. It has surpassed Pluto too and is 300 km past its regional influence.
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Yet it continues to lend us vital clues about the small planet. The latest evidence which is just in says that Pluto may once upon a time have been home to lakes and rivers of liquid nitrogen.
Large flat regions on the planet resemble bodies of liquid matter that has long since evaporated leaving behind traces of its once extant form. The network of carved regions was probably made by liquid nitrogen, according to NewScientist.
This was most likely released when the changes in the atmosphere led to a melting of the crust ice on the polar areas. It looks like there was a lake on its surface from the photos that have reached us on earth.
The smoothness of the crust along with various other clues show that the liquid may once have been frozen to a considerable height. No other models show that such a morphology may have emerged other than this liquid nitrogen hypothesis.
The legitimate question is how the liquid ice on the surface of Pluto melted so long ago. It is so far away from the sun that such a possibility seems unlikely to have occurred. It might have been due to the axial rotation of Pluto.
Most of Pluto is tropical in nature. Like the earth’s tilted axis, which lends our home planet its changing seasons, frozen poles and hot and humid tropics, this feature of Pluto worked in its favor. Pluto’s leaning towards a certain direction produced this effect of thawing the ice on its crust.
While the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle, Pluto is tilted at an angle of almost 120 degrees. Pluto is a topsy turvy world. Thus the tropics reach the north on Pluto while the arctic region reaches the equator relative to the sun. It is a world of extreme temperature differences.
The effects of this violence of weather is reflected in the form of the signs on its surface. 800,000 years ago, the planet may have had a fairly hot climate.
The frozen nitrogen may have melted way back then. There are chances that this small wonder may hold some wet areas even now. Their discovery is the real deal for now.