This is a really intriguing inference, but it seems to me that there are a lot of “if”s. The key facts are that 1) the heart-shaped is right in line with Pluto’s moon Charon and 2) Pluto and Charon are tidally locked so it stays in that orientation. Then the “if”s are: 1) they’re locked in that orientation because the region has higher mass (or density) than the rest of Pluto, 2) a crater usually has lower mass, so the crater must have been filled in with something high density, and 3) that something is salty water. The article implies that the ocean is still there today.
I’m not at all saying any of those “if”s are wrong, but I wonder if there are other explanations. For example:
* the impact created enough heat to temporarily melt some icy portion of Pluto (is that possible? I don’t know but some geophysicist probably knows)
* the mass anomaly is now frozen and has been for a long time (how old is the crater remnant? I don’t know, but if its young then this idea would be wrong)
Originally shared by Ciro Villa
Possibility of the presence of a Pluto’s sub-surface ocean.
“Ever since NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto last year, evidence has been mounting that the dwarf planet may have a liquid ocean beneath its icy shell. Now, by modeling the impact dynamics that created a massive crater on Pluto’s surface, a team of researchers has made a new estimate of how thick that liquid layer might be.
The study, led by Brown University geologist Brandon Johnson and published in Geophysical Research Letters, finds a high likelihood that there’s more than 100 kilometers of liquid water beneath Pluto’s surface. The research also offers a clue about the composition of that ocean, suggesting that it likely has a salt content similar to that of the Dead Sea.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-pluto-heart-ocean.html