Next post Spacecraft Flies Through Cosmic Snowstorm

New images from the EPOXI mission show that comet Hartley 2 is a cosmic snow globe.

The first science results from the Deep Impact spacecraft’s Nov. 4 flyby of the comet, presented in a press conference today, show the comet’s drumstick-shaped nucleus is surrounded by chunks of ice ranging from as small a snowflake to as large as a basketball.

“When we saw images come down, even in real-time in the raw data, and realized we had a cloud of snow around the nucleus, we were astounded,” said planetary scientist Michael A’Hearn, leader of the EPOXI mission that sent the spacecraft to its icy encounter.”To me this whole thing looks like a snow globe you’ve shaken,” said planetary scientist Peter Schultz of Brown University.

Explore the comet’s surprising snowy landscape in the slides that follow.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD


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