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Comets are like deep-fried ice cream: Indian-origin scientist

Wed, Feb 11, 2015, 04:14 PM
Washington, Feb 11: Using an icebox-like instrument nicknamed Himalaya, an Indian-origin researcher-led team has revealed that fluffy ice on the surface of a comet would crystallise 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, NASA said in a statement.

"A comet is like deep fried ice cream. The crust is made of crystalline ice, while the interior is colder and more porous. The organics are like a final layer of chocolate on top," explained Murthy Gudipati of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Researchers already know that comets have soft interiors and seemingly hard crusts.

In the new study, Gudipati and Antti Lignell, post-doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, put together a model of crystallising comet crust.
Agency: IANS

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