Turns out Pluto might really be a giant comet

Adjust Comment Print

This is quite interesting, since Rosetta's information showed similarities between Pluto and some comets. However, lately, a team of researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) have pointed out Pluto to be an overgrown comet. Scientists now believe that Pluto could have, in fact, be formed from billions of Kuiper belt objects.

Glein and Waite aren't claiming to have nailed down Pluto's origin definitively; a "photo voltaic mannequin", through which the dwarf planet coalesced from chilly ices with a chemical composition nearer to that of the solar, additionally stays in play, the duo mentioned.

"We've developed what we call "the giant comet" cosmochemical model of Pluto formation", said Dr. Christopher Glein of SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division. The researchers of the study found out a massive ice glacier rich in nitrogen on the surface of the Pluto. They say that while there are still many unanswered questions about what exactly Pluto is and how it came to be, the notion that it is basically a billion ancient comets at its core is a clear possibility. Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, but Pluto's, which is far colder, is 98% nitrogen. Inning accordance with this alternate theory, Pluto formed from extremely cold ices with chemical structures that more carefully matches that of the Sun.

Did Pluto form like its closer-in brethren in the solar system, or is it the result of an agglomeration of comets from the edge of the solar system?

A big challenge was posed by the low levels of carbon monoxide in the dwarf planet's atmosphere.

Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit NAVCAM  ROSETTA  ESA
Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit NAVCAM ROSETTA ESA

Though these significant observations have surfaced, the complete solar model depicting the formation of the Pluto has not yet come up.

Looking at data collected by the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe that landed on comet 67P, and NASA's New Horizons craft that flew by Pluto, they found "an intriguing consistency" in the amount of nitrogen in Pluto's large heart-shaped glacier and the comet.

The theory is laid out in a paper published online on Wednesday in the journal Icarus. But the researchers' explanation for the missing carbon dioxide is that it was either destroyed by liquid water or it's potentially trapped under Pluto's surface.

The researchers further suggest that the presence of liquid water may have altered the planet over time, even going so far as to propose that the planet may have had a subsurface ocean.

"Using chemistry as a detective's tool, we are able to trace certain features we see on Pluto today to formation processes from long ago. This leads to a new appreciation of the richness of Pluto's 'life story, ' which we are only starting to grasp", he added.

Powerful cyclone churns in Arabian Sea toward Oman, Yemen
Field response units were forced to suspend services due to unsafe conditions with low-lying areas submerged as wadis overflowed. After several hours of heavy rainfall in the province, the meteorology centre warned of flooding and winds of up to 170km/h.