An idea proposed by scientists has opened a startling new claim on the Plutonian front yet again. And while it might not involve plutonium, it certainly deals with something very radioactive. It's rare that a theory ever ventures forth that could indicate the possible existence of life on Pluto even in the fringe of science. But the idea proposed here seems to suggest we shouldn't rule out our distant cousin Pluto just yet. It may be a dwarf planet, but if it were to be discovered to have life on its surface (or in a vast underground ocean) it might actually find its way back into the family of planets.
The theory goes something like this. If Pluto were to have radioactive materials on its surface, these materials could be breaking down just as they do here on Earth. And if they break down in the same way that they do on Earth, this could mean they too would release heat. In Nuclear Fission, nuclear materials breaking down are used to boil water and release energy in the form of steam which turns a turbine and then produces electricity. So if the same process can boil water, perhaps it can liquify ice on the surface of a distant planet. And given enough time and radioactive material, there could even be a mutated race living beneath its surface. Of course this last part is highly speculative and full of additional hurdles that would have to be overcome first including the presence of all the elements required to create life as we understand it today. Alternately, substitute elements could exist in order to make life possible.
It would seem that at the moment we can much to look into with this planet. Pluto was first extricated from the other planets when another distant body was discovered that had more mass than the previous smallest planet in the solar system. The result was an outcry from scientists claiming Pluto should not be demoted just because it wasn't as large as another body out there. But if Pluto were discovered to have vast underwater oceans of liquid water this could have serious implications for the scientific community when attempting to chart the "Goldilocks Zone." The Goldilocks Zone is the distance from the sun a planet can be in orer to prove it has the necessary heat needed to sustain life. Goldilocks Zones have several times been considered the primary reason a planet should or should not be studied further. But if other factors can warm up a planet through means other than just the presence of a sun, then there may in fact be many different pockets in the universe where life could exist. And not all of them necessarily orbit a sun. There could even be radioactive asteroids that collide with a comet in deep space and produce life at jut the right temperature for simple life.
But how serious is this claim? Scientists are planning on sending a probe out to the distant dwarf planet and sending back images with further information. It is expected to be able to get a clear picture of the distant object by July of 2015.