Liquid water may have erupted from Pluto's icy volcanoes, study finds

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A new study suggests that scientists may have found proof of liquid water being spewed out of Pluto's volcanoes.

Ammonia was found on Pluto's surface, according to a study published in Science Advances. This has led scientists to believe that the dwarf planet's volcanoes may have recently erupted with liquid water.

Scientists found evidence of ammonia in areas where tectonic activity had previously taken place. They discovered this by analyzing data from NASA's New Horizons probe which flew by Pluto in 2015.

According to the researchers, ammonia was mixed in with water from Pluto's underground ocean. Subsequently, liquid water erupted through cracks and vents.

Scientists are calling this cryovolcanism, as reported by Space.com. Lead author of the study Cristina Dalle Ore, told the website that radioactive heat from Pluto's ores causes the planet's interior to be warmer than its surface.

This allows the ammonia to be liquid despite Pluto's frigid temperatures.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Pluto in space, an inset of ammonia, a Plutonian volcano and a drop of water
2. The surface of Pluto, and the NASA spacecraft flying over Pluto
3. Pluto's underground ocean, and liquid water appearing on Pluto's surface
4. Cross section of Pluto depicting the warm interior and the cold exterior

VOICEOVER (in English):
"According to a study published in Science Advances, ammonia was found on Pluto's surface.

"This has led scientists to believe that the dwarf planet's volcanoes may have recently erupted with liquid water."

"Scientists found evidence of ammonia in areas where tectonic activity had previously taken place."

"They discovered this by analyzing data from NASA's New Horizons probe which flew by Pluto in 2015."

"According to the researchers, ammonia was mixed in with water from Pluto's underground ocean. Subsequently, liquid water erupted through cracks and vents."

"Space.com reports that scientists are calling this cryovolcanism."

"Lead author of the study Cristina Dalle Ore, told the website that radioactive heat from Pluto's ores causes the planet's interior to be warmer than its surface.

"This allows the ammonia to be liquid despite Pluto's frigid temperatures."

SOURCES: Space.com, Science Advances, Science News,
https://www.space.com/active-pluto-ammonia-buried-liquid-ocean.html
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/5/eaav5731
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ice-volcanoes-pluto-may-have-spewed-organic-rich-water