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Sep 24 2015

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Rosetta confirms theoretical water-ice cycle on asteroid

Rosetta Reveals Comet’s Water-ice Cycle.

The data suggest that water ice on and a few centimetres below the surface ‘sublimates’ when illuminated by sunlight, turning it into gas that then flows away from the comet. Then, as the comet rotates and the same region falls into darkness, the surface rapidly cools again.

However, the underlying layers remain warm owing to the sunlight they received in the previous hours, and, as a result, subsurface water ice keeps sublimating and finding its way to the surface through the comet’s porous interior.

But as soon as this ‘underground’ water vapour reaches the cold surface, it freezes again, blanketing that patch of comet surface with a thin layer of fresh ice.

And even more interesting:

From these data, it is possible to estimate the relative abundance of water ice with respect to other material. Down to a few cm deep over the region of the portion of the comet nucleus that was surveyed, water ice accounts for 10–15% of the material and appears to be well-mixed with the other constituents.

As I’ve said many times, You can’t swing a dead cat in the Solar System without hitting water. This obviously bodes well for humanity’s exploration and colonization of the System.

And speaking of swinging cats:

Fortunately, Mitsy didn’t turn into a dead cat.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/09/24/rosetta-confirms-theoretical-water-ice-cycle-on-asteroid/

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