New data obtained by experts shows that Pluto—one of the most distant celestial bodies in our Solar System—may already have LIFE. Planetary scientist Michael Summers said: “The connection with astrobiology is immediate – it’s right there in front of your face. You see organic materials, water, and energy. These are the things you need for life: organics, raw material, and energy.”
Complex molecules on Pluto
With the possible production of hydrocarbons and nitriles (another organic molecule) on Pluto, even more interesting pre- chemistry for life could take place, Summers said.
“You can start building complex pre-biotic molecules,” he said. An example is hydrogen cyanide, possibly a key molecule leading to prebiotic chemistry.
As reported by NASA, data from the New Horizons flyby finished downloading to Earth in October, and while it will take many years for scientists to complete their inventory and model the results, early studies offer intriguing hints of its complex chemistry, perhaps even some form of pre-biological processes below Pluto’s surface.
One of the surprises of the New Horizons mission was finding water ice mountains on Pluto, that quite possibly are floating on a subsurface ocean of liquid water.
“These are the things you need for life: organics, raw material, and energy,” Summers said.
Not long ago, scientists from NASA said Pluto—once a planet now downgraded to a dwarf planet—is ALIVE and strangely resembles Earth.
In fact, astronomers say that Pluto—one of the most distant celestial bodies in our solar system— has blue skies. This fascinating discovery was made as NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft flew past the dwarf planet collecting incalculable data along the way. Images provided by New Horizons showed scientists that Pluto has surprisingly Earth-like features and that the dwarf planet is very similar to Earth.
Scientists were surprised by the tremendous amount of data they gathered thanks to New Horizons flyby. In fact, Summers confessed that he NEVER expected to talk about these possibilities on Pluto, despite having studied the dwarf planet his entire life.
“I’ve been studying Pluto all my life, and never expected to talk about these things being there.”
Another surprise from the New Horizons mission was finding haze on Pluto at far higher altitudes than scientists expected.
Summers has co-authored two research papers on the topic, with the first, “The Photochemistry of Pluto’s Atmosphere as Illuminated by New Horizons,” published in the journal Icarus in September. The second paper, “Constraints on the Microphysics of Pluto’s Photochemical Haze from New Horizons Observations” is in press at the same journal.
Complex molecules, blue skies and a MASSIVE OCEAN inside Pluto
In addition to the above, experts believe there is an ocean located inside Pluto could that could have a volume almost equivalent to that of Earth’s oceans” and is “potentially habitable”.
However, proving whether or not this ocean can sustain life is something that will take a while.
Reddish hues on Pluto could indicate tholins, a type of complex organic compound that may be a precursor to the chemistry of life.
“The fact that even cold, distant Pluto could have a subsurface ocean means that there are potential habitats even in apparently unpromising locations,” said Francis Nimmo, a New Horizons scientist based at the University of California, Santa Cruz.