Scientists believe the dwarf planet is home to a huge body of water under the surface which could be home to bizarre organisms unlike anything here on Earth.
PLUTO could be home to alien life unlike anything ever seen before after it was revealed the dwarf planet could have an OCEAN.
Washington University, United States – Scientists have discovered that Pluto is likely to have a large body of water hidden beneath the surface, which could be home to some form of life.
It is believed to be up to 600 miles wide and more than 50 miles thick, and is in the Sputnik Planitia region of the planet which is covered in nitrogen ice.
He said: “New Horizons has detected ammonia as a compound on Pluto’s big moon, Charon, and on one of Pluto’s small moons. So it’s [the ocean] almost certainly inside Pluto.
“What I think is down there in the ocean is rather noxious, very cold, salty and very ammonia-rich—almost a syrup.
“It’s no place for germs, much less fish or squid, or any life as we know it.
“But as with the methane seas on Titan—Saturn’s main moon—it raises the question of whether some truly novel life forms could exist in these exotic, cold liquids.”
But it is believed that these life forms could just be beginning to evolve and are likely they are in a pre-cellular state – just like the earliest life on Earth was.
Professor McKinnon added: “The idea that bodies of Pluto’s scale, of which there are more than one out there in the Kuiper Belt, they could all have these kinds of oceans. But they’d be very exotic compared to what we think of as an ocean.
“Life can tolerate a lot of stuff: It can tolerate a lot of salt, extreme cold, extreme heat, etc. But I don’t think it can tolerate the amount of ammonia Pluto needs to prevent its ocean from freezing—ammonia is a superb antifreeze.
“Not that ammonia is all bad. On Earth, microorganisms in the soil fix nitrogen to ammonia, which is important for making DNA and proteins and such.
“If you’re going to talk about life in an ocean that’s completely covered with an ice shell, it seems most likely that the best you could hope for is some extremely primitive kind of organism.
“It might even be pre-cellular, like we think the earliest life on Earth was.”
The research was published at the beginning of December as part of NASA’s New Horizons project, which included a spacecraft flyby mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt in 2015.
Brit TV professor Brian Cox has also said that he believes there could be life on Pluto.
Last year, when speaking about the New Horizons mission, he said they “showed you that there may well be a subsurface ocean on Pluto, which means — if our understanding of life on Earth is even slightly correct — that you could have living things there”.
NASA scientists are currently testing a fleet of underwater drones that will allow them to explore oceans on other planets and moons.
They want to improve the device’s artificial intelligence, so that they can pick up changes in temperature and salinity in real time instead of planning ahead as they do now.