Rosetta’s comet shows few signs of surface ice

comet 67P mosaic

This mosaic of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko released on September 2 show faint signs of a jet spouting from the comet's inner neck region.


Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is as black as charcoal in ultraviolet light and doesn’t seem to have many patches of ice on its surface, Rosetta mission scientists report September 5. The findings support previous results suggesting that comet 67P may be covered in a layer of dust, which could influence the touchdown and operations of Philae, the mission lander. The comet’s atmosphere does show traces of hydrogen and oxygen, which may offer insight into whether these hunks of dust, rock and ice delivered water to Earth billions of years ago.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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