NASA MISSION UPDATE
The EPOXI mission’s recent encounter with comet Hartley 2 provided the first images clear enough for scientists to link jets of dust and gas with specific surface features. NASA and other scientists have begun to analyze the images.
The EPOXI mission spacecraft revealed a cometary snow storm created by carbon dioxide jets spewing out tons of golf-ball to basketball-sized fluffy ice particles from the peanut-shaped comet’s rocky ends. At the same time, a different process was causing water vapor to escape from the comet’s smooth mid-section. This information sheds new light on the nature of comets and even planets.