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Rosetta Comet Water Different From Earth Water
December 10, 2014

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The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapor from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to be significantly different from that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans.

The measurements, by the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument, were made in the month following the arrival of the spacecraft on Aug. 6. It is one of the most anticipated early results of the mission, because the origin of Earth's water is still an open question.

More information can be found on ESA's Rosetta website at:

http://bit.ly/1yzbQEi

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. Rosetta's lander obtained the first images taken from a comet's surface and will provide analysis of the comet's possible primordial composition. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun's radiation. Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water, and perhaps even life.

Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the U.S. contribution of the Rosetta mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL also built the MIRO instrument and hosts its principal investigator, Samuel Gulkis. The Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio and Boulder) developed the Rosetta orbiter's IES and Alice instruments, and hosts their principal investigators, James Burch (IES) and Alan Stern (Alice).

For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit:

http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov

More information about Rosetta is available at:

http://www.esa.int/rosetta

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-9011
agle@jpl.nasa.gov

Markus Bauer
European Space Agency, Noordwijk, Netherlands
011-31-71-565-6799
markus.bauer@esa.int

2014-424

comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 20, 2014. The image resolution is 10 feet (3 meters) per pixel.
Image Credit: 
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
Image Token: 
[image-50]
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 20, 2014. The image resolution is 10 feet (3 meters) per pixel.
Image Credit: 
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
Image Token: 
[image-69]
Image Token: 
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Page Last Updated: December 16th, 2014
Page Editor: Tony Greicius