NASA Discovers Frozen Nitrogen Lake On Pluto

Posted: Mar 29 2016, 6:57am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


NASA Discovers Frozen Nitrogen Lake on Pluto
  • NASA discovers Remains of an Ancient Frozen Body of Water on Pluto

NASA has managed to discover what may be the remains of an ancient frozen body of water on Pluto.

NASA has posted an image of what was once a large lake on the surface of the planet Pluto. The pic is of a frozen mass of liquid material with an irregular pattern.

It is plain and lies on rough terrain. The overall scenario is one of a lake or pond within the context of a craggy landscape. The New Horizons spacecraft took the photograph.

It also served as an observation point for various other bodies of frozen liquid on the planet that lies on the edge of the solar system.

“In addition to this possible former lake, we also see evidence of channels that may also have carried liquids in Pluto’s past,” said Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado—principal investigator of New Horizons and lead author of the scientific paper.  

NASA made the picture public about seven days ago. The space agency hypothesized regarding such liquid bodies of water that existed millions or even billions of years ago in the past.

They flowed freely during those ancient times. This was due to the warmer conditions and high pressure atmosphere way back then. However, today they are mostly frozen. The image portrays what looks like a lake that has been made still thanks to the extremely cold temperatures surrounding Pluto. 

No liquid flows anymore on the surface of the lake. In its past state, it would have been made up of liquid nitrogen. The lake is found within the Sputnik Planum which is the heart-shaped area found in the center of the planet.

The photo was taken in July of 2015. This lake is 430 feet in length and 20 miles at its maximum width. It appears to be the case that such a small world like Pluto may not only have oceans beneath its surface but many similar lakes floating on top of its crust.  

Yet even at its warmest, Pluto is a frigid and cold world where the freezing winds howl across a barren and desolate terrain. The only signs that point to a renewed hope of finding life forms are the liquid nitrogen.

Pluto goes around the sun in 248 years. It tilts at 120 degrees. Earth on the contrary tilts at an angle of 23 degrees. Pluto also displays a wobble in its planetary behavior.

Computer simulations have been made regarding Pluto’s surface and inner mantle as well as its core. It is nevertheless an interesting planet that is somewhat dynamic in its features and functionality.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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