SPECULATION: One of Pluto’s Moons (Charon) could have water

Pluto + Charon.

Hey man, in a world where our empirical data is constantly challenged, isn’t like *bong rip* everything just speculation, mannn? But yeah. NASA Astronomer Wizards are wondering if there is water on one of Pluto’s moons. Which would be neat. It’d be one more resource the slap-ass dummies who run the world couldn’t get together to harvest. Ah man *bong rip* I gotta keep that PMA.

It’s a lot of speculation right now, but the buzz in a new NASA study is Pluto’s largest moon (Charon) could have a cracked surface.

If the New Horizons mission catches these cracks when it whizzes by in 2015, this could hint at an ocean underneath the lunar surface — just like what we talk about with Europa (near Jupiter) and Enceladus (near Saturn). But don’t get too excited — it’s also possible Charon had an ocean, but it froze out over time.

“Our model predicts different fracture patterns on the surface of Charon depending on the thickness of its surface ice, the structure of the moon’s interior and how easily it deforms, and how its orbit evolved,” stated Alyssa Rhoden of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who led the research.

“By comparing the actual New Horizons observations of Charon to the various predictions, we can see what fits best and discover if Charon could have had a subsurface ocean in its past, driven by high eccentricity.”

It seems an unlikely proposition given that Pluto is so far from the Sun — about 29 times further away than the Earth is. Its surface temperature is -380 degrees Farhenheit (-229 degrees Celsius), which — to say the least — would not be a good environment for liquid water on the surface. [io9]