"We now have half a dozen worlds, like (Saturn's moon) Enceladus, (Jupiter's moons) Europa and Ganymede, and now Pluto, that seem to have oceans in their interiors," New Horizons' lead scientist Alan Stern, with the Southwest Research Institute told Discovery News.
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"It's interesting that only Earth wears its ocean on the outside," he said. "From the surface, we don't see them. Who know that oceans would turn out to be fairly common?"
As far as the prospect for life on Pluto, Stern said, "Anytime you have liquid water, the astrobiologists get interested in that place. That's as far as I'm willing to go."
For Earth-like life to exist, a planet would need water, an energy source, the right chemical elements and time, added planetary scientist William McKinnon, with Washington University in St. Louis.
"All we can say is that we think that Pluto has an ocean and we think that this ocean has survived to the present day. It's the kind of ocean that is deep inside the interior of Pluto, in total darkness. But, it would lie between a floating water ice shell and the rocky interior, so it would be in contact with rock. There would be a modest amount of heat leaking out. You certainly couldn't rule it out, but anything about life on Pluto is simply speculation," McKinnon told Discovery News.