According to the physicist Brian Cox, there could be the possibility of microbial life thriving below the surface of the dwarf planet, Pluto. The comment comes after the spectacular flyby of the NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beside Pluto.
The images sent by the spacecraft suggest that there is a possibility of subterranean seas, which is warm enough to harbor life like microbes and protozoan. However, it unlikely that we will find complex life in our galaxy.
Alien life could be thriving beneath Pluto’s crust. New Horizon’s revealed huge glaciers and mountains made of water ice. The New Horizons spacecraft flew within 7,800 miles off the planet’s surface. The spacecraft sent back pictures that show the dwarf planet in a much clearer light.
The dwarf planet is peppered with mountain ranges and huge icy plains. Researchers have seen only 5% of the data taken by the spacecraft and more information will be released in the coming months. The base of these mountains is probably made of water ice or H2O.
However, the scientists will not be able to know if warm water exists on Pluto.
After the Pluto flyby, the spacecraft will make its rendezvous with the Kuiper Belt, which is a ring of icy debris revolving around our solar system. The spacecraft, the size of a fridge is to head towards the small Kuiper Belt Object or KBO designated as 2014 MU69. It orbits a billion miles away from Pluto system.
John Grunsfeld, astronaut and chief of the NASA Science Mission Directorate said that the gutsy spacecraft will venture deep into space and bring back valuable information about the conditions in the Kuiper Belt. The cost of maintaining the spacecraft is less than the expense incurred in the prime mission.
New Horizons will carry out some maneuvers in late October and early November which will send the spacecraft to its eventual destination named 2014 MU69 and nicknamed PT 1 or ‘Potential Target 1‘ which it expects to reach on New Year’s Day i.e. January 1, 2019.