Scientists have always been at a fix when figuring out as to what Pluto actually is- dwarf planet, asteroid, or an object in the Kuiper Belt. However, lately, a team of researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) have pointed out Pluto to be an overgrown comet.
This new study about the evolution of Pluto was performed by collaborating information received from the New Horizons Flyby of NASA and the Rosetta Mission of the European Space Agency. The researchers of the study found out a massive ice glacier rich in nitrogen on the surface of the Pluto. This ice glacier known as Sputnik Planitia was found to possess the same composition as compared to that of the comet 67P landed upon by the Rosetta of the European Space Agency.
Dr. Christopher Glein at the Southwest Research Institute said in a statement, “We’ve developed what we call ‘the giant comet’ cosmochemical model of Pluto formation.” Further, Glein added, “We found an intriguing consistency between the estimated amount of nitrogen inside the glacier and the amount that would be expected if Pluto was formed by the agglomeration of roughly a billion comets or other Kuiper Belt objects.”
The scientists who conducted the study also analyzed a model depicting the Pluto to have evolved from really cold ices. The researchers involved said that although there are numerous question marks about the formation of the body Pluto, yet it is likely that it has been formed of billions of early comets. These findings were published in the Icarus journal on Wednesday, 23rd May.
Though these significant observations have surfaced, the complete solar model depicting the formation of the Pluto has not yet come up. The researcher Glein stated that they have just begun grasping facts about the history of the Pluto at the present moment and that they expect further analysis would help them to draw the final conclusions.