Does Pluto Have An Icy Heart?

Latest studies have revealed that Pluto is still alive and it does have an icy heart! That is, the most recognizable feature of Pluto, its bright and shining ice field is geologically alive. From the placid plain, nitrogen ice is rising continuously in an upward motion. When it reaches the surface of Pluto, it spreads out, essentially repaving the area. This ice erases craters and keeps the region called Sputnik Planum looking youthful forever.

Latest Study Shows Pluto is Active and Alive

The latest studies based on information sent back from NASA's New Horizon space probe have shown that Pluto is not cold and static, but it is alive and active. As reported by, Sputnik Planum is a vast, oval-shaped area. It stretches across Pluto's equator. The place is 347,500 square miles and 1.2 to 1.8 miles deep. The area is filled with nitrogen ice. It is broken into irregular polygons and the center of some of these polygons are raised above 50 meters from the sides.

Scientist's Take on the Research

Bill McKinnon from Washington University at St. Louis, told National Geographic that Pluto not only has a heart but it is beating, too. According to McKinnon, there are things happening on Pluto. He also added that some of Pluto's neighbors, Makemake and Eris, have similar features, indicating that it is possible that they, too, have an icy heart that is still beating.

Two papers about the news that the ice is continually churning up from below were published in Nature on June 1. Even though the studies differ in terms of how they think this happens, the two papers agree that it is happening and that Pluto does have an icy heart that is alive and beating in Sputnik Planum.

Last year the New Horizon space probe was studying Pluto. According to the research presented, it is believed that the face of Sputnik Planum will change completely every 500,000 to 1 million years. Scientists never expected such a phenomenon in this small and freezing land that is far away from planet Earth. According to Bill McKinnon, more studies are required to confirm whether Pluto does have an icy heart.

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