Ever since poor Pluto was stripped of its planetary status, a lingering question has been, Well then, what the heck is it?
Just another Kuiper Belt Object?
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.
Scientists from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) combined data from NASA's New Horizons flyby of the former planet and the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission that landed on comet 67P to come up with a new explanation for how Pluto came to be.
"We've developed what we call 'the giant comet' cosmochemical model of Pluto formation," Dr. Christopher Glein of SwRI said in a release.
The researchers discovered that a large, nitrogen-rich ice glacier on Pluto's surface named Sputnik Planitia is similar in composition to what Rosetta found on its comet.