November 19, 2014

Rosetta and Philae

Science magazine writes about Rosetta, and the probe Philae, and the adventures it endures, as well as the future of them both. It’s an interesting piece.

This tidbit stands out though, regarding how water could’ve come to Earth.

And ROSINA, a Rosetta instrument that uses spectrometers to measure gas abundances, has obtained a highly sought after result: the so-called deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio of water in the comet’s thin atmosphere, or coma. The measured value for 67P is much higher than the ratio in Earth’s oceans and higher than in other comets, says ROSINA principal investigator Kathrin Altwegg, of the University of Bern. Three years ago, the comet Hartley–2 was found to have a D-to-H ratio near that of Earth’s oceans—sparking interest in the notion that comet impacts delivered much of Earth’s water. Altwegg says the result for 67P could make asteroids the primary suspect again.

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