American scientists proved that in the first epochs of its existence, Pluto was quite warm, like other large objects of the Kuiper belt, so there were liquid oceans, which then froze. The results are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists from the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Southwest Research Institute analyzed images of the New Horizons probe from the surface of Pluto and concluded that the protoplanet was hot during its formation. Researchers have discovered numerous tear-cracks on the surface of Pluto. After the authors of the study built a thermal model of the evolution of the bowels of Pluto, they proved that such structures could arise when the liquid underground ocean froze.

If after formation, Pluto was cold, and then melted, then we would see compression structures on its surface. We see signs of expansion characteristic of water that was liquid and then froze.

Carver Bierson, Planetologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz

If Pluto initially “started” as a hot body, it means that it formed either very quickly, or that it received a large amount of energy from outside. In particular, scientists suggest that its source could be the fall of large asteroids, with which the ancestor of Pluto could encounter in the first epochs of his life.

The authors suggest that other large dwarf planets on the outskirts of the solar system, including Makemake and Eris, formed in a similar way. Studying the formation of planets and protoplanets will help scientists understand whether life can exist on planets far from the Sun.