SwRI scientists introduce cosmochemical model for Pluto formation

Not A Planet Nor A Dwarf Planet But Pluto Might Be A Giant Comet Says Study

Ex-Planet Pluto Might Be A Giant Comet Says Planetary Scientists

That object, known as Comet 67P was the target of a 2004 mission where the Rosetta spacecraft launched and then met up with the icy body as it flew around the sun. Pluto, inning accordance with a set of Southwest Research study Institute researchers, is generally a thick comet.

The research is based on data from two separate missions, NASA's New Horizons and the Rosetta mission run by the European Space Agency.

As a result, NASA's New Horizons mission went to explore Pluto and to collect valuable data on it. This close encounter, which will occur on January 1, 2019, about 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto's orbit, is the centerpiece of New Horizons' extended mission.

Pluto may not be categorised as a planet any more, but it still holds plenty of fascination.

Dr. Christopher Glein stated in press release, "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 similar in chemical composition to 67P, the comet explored by Rosetta".

Or, to be more precise, 1 billion comets all mashed together. Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, but Pluto's, which is far colder, is 98% nitrogen.

The institute reported that scientists are also looking at a "solar model" for Pluto's formation, theorizing it may have been created from very cold ices that would have had a chemical composition that more closely matches that of the Sun. So between the nitrogen ice and the nitrogen atmosphere, the dwarf planet has an unusually high proportion of it. By examining these models, they hoped to get a better understanding of Pluto's leaky atmosphere, to figure out how much nitrogen is escaping into nearby space.

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.

The report of this interesting new study has been issued yesterday in the Icarus journal.

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

It's also possible, under the cometary model, that the missing carbon monoxide is trapped, frozen under Pluto's surface.

The scientists concerned this conclusion by studying information gathered throughout NASA's New Horizons Pluto objective and ESA's Rosetta objective to the comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko.

"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". Moreover, the research can lead to new possibilities to understand Pluto's life story, which we barely know.

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