Comet Tempel 1, target of last year’s July 4 cosmic collision, contains small amounts of surface water ice. Reported in Science by members of NASA’s Deep Impact mission, this finding marks the first evidence of surface ice on any comet.
First evidence of water ice on a comet - The three small areas of water ice on the surface of Tempel 1 appear in this image, taken by an instrument aboard NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft. [Photo: NASA]
Comet Tempel 1, which created a flamboyant Fourth of July fireworks display in space last year, is covered with a small amount of water ice. These results, reported by members of NASA’s Deep Impact team in an advanced online edition of Science, offer the first definitive evidence of surface ice on any comet.
“We have known for a long time that water ice exists in comets, but this is the first evidence of water ice on comets,” said Jessica Sunshine, Deep Impact co-investigator and lead author of the Science article.
Wendy Lawton | EurekAlert!
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