University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Anne Verbiscer looks for oceans on Pluto

January 13, 2023

“Pluto’s huge nitrogen-ice-filled basin, Sputnik Planitia, is a dominant feature on the dwarf planet,” said Dr. Anne Verbiscer, who is a research professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Virginia, along with being the Deputy Project Scientist and a Co-Investigator on NASA’s New Horizons. “It’s the brightest (most reflective) area, with unique composition, and holds clues to the possible existence of a sub-surface ocean. And our current ‘recipe’ for life as we know it, includes liquid water. So, the possibility of liquid water beneath the surface of Pluto makes it intriguing for astrobiology and finding life beyond Earth.” Read more here: