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On the Origin of Triton and PlutoLyttleton's (1936) hypothesis that Triton and Pluto originated as adjacent prograde satellites of Neptune is evaluated, and it is shown that with the presently accepted masses of Triton and Pluto-Charon, the momentum and energy exchange required to sell Triton on a retrograde orbit is impossible. The Pluto-Charon system could not have acquired its present angular momentum state during an ejection event unless a physical collision was involved, which is quite unlikely. The simplest hypothesis is that Triton and Pluto are independent representatives of large outer solar system planetesimals. Triton is simply captured, with spectacular consequences that include runaway melting of interior ices and release to the surface of clathrated CH4, CO, and N2. Condensed remnants of this protoatmosphere could account for features in Triton's unique spectrum.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Mckinnon, W. B.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Washington Repts. of Planetary Geol. and Geophys. Program, 1984
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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