Pluto may have had liquid nitrogen rivers and lakes in the past

Pluto May Have Had Liquid Nitrogen Rivers And Lakes In The Past
Pluto May Have Had Liquid Nitrogen Rivers And Lakes In The Past

Astronomers are continuing to learn more about Pluto based on data gathered by New Horizons.

New Scientist reports that on Monday, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the mission head named Alan Stern announced that "liquids may have existed on the surface of Pluto in the past."

In fact, the team believes that sometime during the last million years, Pluto could have contained rivers and lakes made of liquid nitrogen.

Whereas flat, smooth areas could represent areas of frozen liquid, grooves on the surface are thought to have been created by flows of the thawed substance.

Though Pluto averages around -400 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, models indicate that conditions were warm enough at some point in the past to melt the ice.

The team continues to develop models to determine if liquid nitrogen lies under a heavy base of ice and remains melted due to the high pressure.

See more of the evolution of NASA's view of Pluto:

More from
Shockwave of an exploding star has been captured for the first time
New gravity map sheds light on Mars' mysterious interiors
2 comets will pass by Earth this week - the closest in 250 years

Originally published