The New Horizons spacecraft received this snapshot of the Satellite Plain - a glacial space rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. Together they form the left share of the heart shape on the surface of Pluto. Scientists studied the composition of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to create a new theory of the formation of a dwarf planet
Researchers at the South-West Research Institute have combined the discoveries of the New NASA missions with Rosett's data to create a new theory about the formation of Pluto on the edge of the solar system.
This is a large-scale cosmochemical model. The study is based on nitrogen-rich ice in Plains Sputnik, a large glacier that forms the left part of the Tombo region (heart). Scientists managed to find an intriguing consistency between the estimated amount of nitrogen inside the glacier and the expected value in the case that Pluto is formed by the agglomeration of about a billion comets or other objects of the Kuiper belt.
In addition, the researchers examined the solar model, where Pluto emerged from extremely cold ice, which would have a chemical composition that more accurately corresponds to the position of the Sun. It was necessary to deal not only with the nitrogen present in Pluto, but also with how many volatile elements could potentially leak from the atmosphere into space during aeons. Then it was necessary to agree on the proportion of carbon monoxide in nitrogen. As a result, a low level of carbon monoxide indicates burial in surface ice or destruction from liquid water.
New Horizons not only showed humanity what Pluto looks like, but also gave information on the composition of the atmosphere and surface. Maps are collected using a Ralph instrument and indicate areas rich in methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O)
The analysis indicates that the initial chemical composition of Pluto, inherited from comet building blocks, was chemically modified with liquid water, possibly in the subsurface ocean. But the solar model also satisfies some limitations. There are still a lot of questions, but chemical analysis will help to trace some of the features observed today to the processes of formation from ancient times.