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Giant KBO victim of massive collision
Posted: Thu, Mar 15, 2007, 8:35 AM ET (1235 GMT)
2003 EL61 illustration (NASA/ESA/STScI) A giant, oblong-shaped Kuiper Belt object (KBO) in the outer solar system likely got its odd shape as the result of a collision early in the history of the solar system. In a paper published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, Caltech scientists said that they believe 2003 EL61 was originally a spherical body nearly the size of Pluto. About 4.5 billion years ago, however, it collided with a slightly smaller body, leaving behind a fast-spinning main body similar in shape to a football, as well as at least two moons and a number of smaller bodies made predominately of ice.
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