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NEWS: Deep Impact Exposes Fragile Comet

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posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 07:07 PM
Scientists who crashed Comet Tempel 1 with an impacter in the recent Deep Impact mission have found the comet to be fragile. The interior of the comet has the substance of a snowbank and showing mostly empty porous matter. The dust and ice is in tiny grains which form a fluffy structure, surrounded by a weak gravitational pull according to researchers at The University of Maryland.
The surface of Tempel 1 is pocked with apparent impact craters, features that have not been detected before during close-up observation of two other comets.

Scientists hope research into Tempel 1 will help unlock the secret of how life started on earth.

Variously described as dirty snowballs or snowy dirtballs, comets are prime candidates for seeding planets, including earth, with water and organic material.

An analysis of material in the plume showed a huge increase in the amount of molecules that contain carbon.

This suggests that comets like Tempel 1 contain a substantial amount of organic material, which means they might have brought such material to Earth early in the planet's history at a time when asteroid and meteor strikes were common.

The research on Tempel 1 is published in the journal Science.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I wonder what else was found, what other matter not native to our planet in their investigations. It is interesting to find that the comet was porous and what the ramifications mean for comet impacts upon our planet. If comets are porous how big was the one that caused the apparent ice age?


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