Since Pluto was deprived of its planetary status, a persistent issue has remained, namely, what is Pluto, if it is not a planet. Could it be a dwarf planet or a huge space rock captured by our Sun’s gravitational force? Well, a few scientists consider they’ve discovered the truth. According to them, Pluto might be a huge comet.
A team of researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) merged all the data on Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons mission and the ESA’s Rosetta mission that crashed on the Comet 67P to discover a new interpretation of how Pluto has formed.
“We have developed what we call ‘the giant comet’, the cosmochemical model of Pluto’s formation,” explained Dr. Christopher Glein from the SwRI.
The report of this interesting new study has been issued yesterday in the Icarus journal.
Pluto might be a huge comet, indeed
The scientists uncovered that the Sputnik Planitia, a nitrogen-rich ice glacier found on Pluto’s surface, possesses a composition that resembles the one of the Comet 67P studied by the ESA’s Rosetta mission.
According to Cristopher Glein, the huge amounts of nitrogen found inside Sputnik Planitia leads to the theory that Pluto was formed by an agglomeration of about a billion comets and other space rocks from the Kuiper Belt.
The scientists also examined another potential model in which Pluto was created from extremely cold ice.
However, the scientists admitted that there is a pile of unanswered questions regarding how Pluto has formed and what it is, exactly, but, according to Dr. Glein, the theory elaborated by him and his colleagues is very probable.
The thought that Pluto might be a huge comet will most likely not suit the opinions of those people who believe Pluto must still be regarded as a planet but scientists reported they are very sure their model is accurate.