The salt of the comet

ScienceDaily | 1/21/2020 | Staff
cyanbytecyanbyte (Posted by) Level 3
Less than a month before the end of the Rosetta mission, the space probe was just 1.9 km above the surface of Chury as it flew through a dust cloud from the comet. This resulted in a direct impact of dust in the ion source of the mass spectrometer ROSINA-DFMS (Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis-Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer), led by the University of Bern. Kathrin Altwegg, lead researcher on ROSINA and co-author of the new study published today in the journal Nature Astronomy, says: "This dust almost destroyed our instrument and confused Rosetta's position control."

Thanks to the flight through the dust cloud, it was possible to detect substances which normally remain in the cold environment of the comet on the dust particles and therefore cannot be measured. The amount of particles, some of which had never before been measured on a comet, was astonishing. In particular, the incidence of ammonia, the chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3, was suddenly many times greater. "We came up with the idea that the incidence of ammonia in the ROSINA data could potentially be traced back to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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