NASA: Charon, Pluto’s moon, may once have had ocean

Like a bottle of water left to freeze, Charon’s liquid center froze, expanded and CRACKED THE MOON!

Science for the Future

In recent years humanity has learned that oceans are not unique to Earth. Discoveries of them on Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan and Jupiter’s moon Europa indicate that oceans may actually be ubiquitous in our solar system.

Now, it seems, it is possible that an ocean once existed on a satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto.

NASA said Friday that images obtained by the New Horizons probe suggest that Charon once had a subsurface sea that expanded outward as it froze, cracking the surface of the moon.

The photographs show tectonic faults, including some valleys more than 6.5 kilometers deep, that indicate an expansion of Charon sometime in the past.

Here’s how it likely happened:

The outer-most layer of Charon, including its surface, is now water ice. But the satellite’s internal heat would have caused that ice to melt deep under the surface, which would have resulted in a subsurface…

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About Excitable Ape

Today is the best day of my life! I am the Artist In Residence of the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. I work as an expert in science communication for Harvard University. Along with my wife, the comics artist Sharon Rosenzweig, I create comics and comic videos for the Annals of Internal Medicine. I express my passion for promoting science literacy by creating science education materials that makes people laugh out loud.
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