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Nasa Instrument on Rosetta Makes Comet Atmosphere Discovery


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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 20, 2014.

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Data collected by NASA's Alice instrument aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reveal that electrons close to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko—not photons from the sun, as had been believed—cause the rapid breakup of water and carbon dioxide molecules spewing from the comet's surface.

From Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA
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