Technology Pluto 'May Be a Giant Comet'

15:15  28 may  2018
15:15  28 may  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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There's an argument to be made that it's all three, but new research suggests it may also be something a little more unique: a really overgrown comet . The notion that Pluto is a giant comet probably won't satisfy those who still think it should be considered a planet, but look at it this way: If collecting

May 25, 2018 Society. Pluto may be a giant comet . According to the new hypothesis of the formation of Pluto , a dwarf planet could be formed as a result of the connection of a huge number of comets normal size.

  Pluto 'May Be a Giant Comet' © Provided by IBT Media Over a decade ago, Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet. Now, scientists have a new theory about the celestial body: that it is a huge comet.  

Scientists previously thought that Pluto was formed like a planet 4.6 billion years ago, after gas and ice bound together with a rocky core to create an enormous sphere in the Sun’s protoplanetary disc.

But a team at Southwest Research Institute have come up with a new theory about how Pluto formed at the edge of our solar system, called the cosmochemical model of Pluto formation.

The researchers used data collected from NASA’s New Horizons space interplanetary space probe to Pluto and the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The preliminary paper outlining the theory was published in the journal Icarus.

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Scientists from the southwest research Institute in the US analyzed data about the atmosphere of Pluto and of his ice collected by the various spacecraft, including the "New horizons" and "Rosetta", and in the end put forward the theory of a " giant comet ".

Is Pluto a giant comet ? Well, perhaps not. But the possibility sure does exist. And, yes, it might be that we will want to consider placing Pluto in different categories, such as (minor) planet and comet .

This idea centers around the nitrogen-packed ice of a large glacier named Sputnik Planitia, which makes up the left lobe of the Pluto’s heart shaped Tombaugh Regio area.

Dr. Christopher Glein of Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) Space Science and Engineering Division and lead author of the study, said in a statement: “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.”

But data on Pluto’s very cold ices also enabled the team to float the idea that Pluto has a similar chemical composition to the Sun. So the origins of Pluto remain unanswered.

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Scientists from the southwest research Institute in the US analyzed data about the atmosphere of Pluto and of his ice collected by the various spacecraft, including the “New horizons” and “Rosetta”, and in the end put forward the theory of a “ giant comet ”.

Is Pluto a giant comet ? Well, probably not. But the possibility does exist. So, then, we find Pluto now described as follows: 0) " Pluto may thus be a cometary accumulation" or "a large comet " --. F. L. Whipple (1964), Proc.

To arrive at the comet and sun models, the scientists considered the amount of nitrogen present on Pluto, and also estimated how much of the element could have escaped out of its atmosphere over the eons. This was considered alongside the levels of carbon monoxide believed to be at Pluto. 

“Our research suggests that Pluto’s initial chemical makeup, inherited from cometary building blocks, was chemically modified by liquid water, perhaps even in a subsurface ocean,” Dr. Glein said. 

He added: “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.”

NASA’s New Horizons probe woke up today to prep for its next deep space flyby .
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by Pluto in July of 2015, woke up today from hibernation mode in preparation for its next rendezvous with a space rock at the edge of the Solar System. New Horizons has been in and out of hibernation mode twice since April of 2017. While in hibernation, the spacecraft basically runs on autopilot, with only its essential components and a few of its instruments powered on. The probe also works off a long list of commands that get uploaded to the spacecraft’s memory before it snoozes off. All of this helps to save wear and tear on the spacecraft, as well as minimize the amount of work that the mission team has to do from the ground.

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