Cosmic comet snow storm

Date:24 November 2010 Tags:,

Watch the movie made from images obtained by Nasa's EPOXI mission spacecraft showing an active end of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2…

The EPOXI mission's recent encounter with comet Hartley 2 provided the first images clear enough for scientists to link jets of dust and gas with specific surface features. Nasa and other scientists have begun to analyse the images.

The EPOXI mission spacecraft revealed a cometary snow storm created by carbon dioxide jets spewing out tons of golf-ball to basketball-sized fluffy ice particles from the peanut-shaped comet's rocky ends. At the same time, a different process was causing water vapour to escape from the comet's smooth mid-section. This information sheds new light on the nature of comets and even planets.

Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/UMD/Brown

To find out more, read the news story, “Spacecraft sees cosmic snow storm during comet encounter”.

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