Pluto May Be a Giant Comet, According to a New Theory

"This leads to a new appreciation of the richness of Pluto’s ‘life story,’ which we are only starting to grasp." the lead author of the study said

Pluto
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP, File

Pluto was downgraded from planet to dwarf planet in 2016, and now, scientists say the rock may actually be a sort of giant comet, having formed when a billion or so comets clumped together during the solar system's early days, NBC News reported

The new "cosmochemical" theory is described in a study published May 25 in the journal Icarus in which scientists looked at the composition of a vast glacier that forms the left lobe of a heart-shaped feature on the surface of Pluto. 

"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," Christopher Glein, a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and lead author of the study, said in a written statement. "This leads to a new appreciation of the richness of Pluto’s ‘life story,’ which we are only starting to grasp."

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