Why comets are like deep-fried ice cream

February 10, 2015 9:17 PM

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Using an icebox-like instrument nicknamed Himalaya, the researchers show that fluffy ice on the surface of a comet would crystalize and harden as the comet heads toward the sun and warms up. As the water-ice crystals form, becoming denser and more ordered, other molecules containing carbon would be expelled to the comet's surface. The result is a crunchy comet crust sprinkled with organic dust.

"A comet is like deep fried ice cream," said Murthy Gudipati of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, corresponding author of a recent study appearing in The Journal of Physical Chemistry. "The crust is made of crystalline ice, while the interior is colder and more porous. The or...

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