Arrokoth the ‘space snowman’ and other Kuiper Belt objects may be packed with ancient ice

The Kuiper Belt object named “486958 Arrokoth,” or simply “Arrokoth,” may have more in common with a snowman than just its shape. New research suggests there’s ancient ice locked within its frosty heart.

The research team considers this “space snowman,” also known as “Ultima Thule,” a case study for other bodies within the Kuiper Belt. This belt represents an icy ring of cometary objects found beyond the orbit of Neptune in the outer regions of our solar system. The Arrokoth finding therefore suggests that these bodies, which are remnants of material that existed during the formation of the planets 4.5 billion years ago, may still host their original ice content. These ices are also referred to as “volatiles” because of how quickly it would be possible for them to vaporize.

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