Rosetta's comet sounds like a candy bar: crunchy outside, marshmallow inside


At NBC, space journalist Allan Boyle reports on the mysterious comet tracked by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft.

A series of scientific papers published this week in Science dissect the likely structure of the comet, "revealing a candy-bar structure with a dry, crunchy surface and a soft, fluffy interior." Sounds kinda yummy.

Boyle writes:

However, the cosmic candy bar known as Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is being unevenly cooked as it approaches the sun, and the initial reports published in the journal Science suggest it will undergo dramatic changes in the months ahead. That's exactly what the scientists on Rosetta's team are hoping for.

"We are trying to see how a comet evolves over time, and also through the course of its orbit," University of Maryland astronomer Michael A'Hearn, a co-author of three of the seven papers published this week, said in a news release. "Gaining this detailed time series is what distinguishes Rosetta from other missions."

Rosetta's Comet Revealed: It's Dry on the Outside, Fluffy on the Inside []

Catching a comet [Science]


Photo: "Image portrays the Earth, the Moon and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko showing how they would appear in the same light conditions, taking in account their relative albedos, the percentage of light reflected by the body. The Earth reflects 31% of the light, the Moon 12% and Comet 67P about 6%. The images are not to scale physically."

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA & Gordan Ugarkovich (Earth); Robert Vanderbei, Princeton Univ (Moon); ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM (67P/C-G)