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Chemical engineers explain oxygen mystery on comets

A Caltech chemical engineer who normally develops new ways to fabricate microprocessors in computers has figured out how to explain a nagging mystery in space—why comets expel oxygen gas, the same gas we humans breathe.

Icy surprises at Rosetta's comet

As Rosetta's comet approached its most active period last year, the spacecraft spotted carbon dioxide ice – never before seen on a comet – followed by the emergence of two unusually large patches of water ice.

Rosetta: The end of a space odyssey

Europe's trailblazing deep-space comet exploration for clues to the origins of the Solar System ends Friday with the Rosetta orbiter joining robot lab Philae on the iceball's dusty surface for eternity.

Rosetta catches dusty organics

Rosetta's dust-analysing COSIMA (COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser) instrument has made the first unambiguous detection of solid organic matter in the dust particles ejected by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in the form ...

Astronomers observe outburst of comet 15P/Finlay

(—A Jupiter-family comet, designated 15P/Finlay, has experienced two large-scale outbursts during its perihelion passage at the end of 2014 and the start of 2015. The latter was observed by a team of astronomers, ...

Comet Lovejoy shows asymmetric behavior at perihelion

(—Indian astronomers have recently conducted spectrographic observations of long-period Comet Lovejoy to study its gas emission. They found that this comet showcases an asymmetric behavior at perihelion and an ...

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A comet is a Small Solar System Body that orbits the Sun. When close enough to the Sun, a comet exhibits a visible coma (fuzzy "atmosphere"), and sometimes a tail, both because of the effects of solar radiation upon the comet's nucleus. Comet nuclei are themselves loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles, ranging from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers across.

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