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Comet water muddies the question of where Earth’s oceans came from

14 Dec 2014, 19:00 UTC
Comet water muddies the question of where Earth’s oceans came from
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Comets are an obvious culprit if you want to understand how water gets from one part of the Solar System to another. They’re famously known as “dirty snowballs”, for their mixture of water ice, ices made of other molecules, and a few organic molecules thrown in to give them a dark gray color. Since very […]

Rosetta image of Comet 67P, processed to give it the same color as human eyes might see it. (Most probes and telescopes filter light differently than our eyes.) Note that the comet is very dark gray, which is why comets in generally are known as “dirty snowballs”. [Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA ]Comets are an obvious culprit if you want to understand how water gets from one part of the Solar System to another. They’re famously known as “dirty snowballs”, for their mixture of water ice, ices made of other molecules, and a few organic molecules thrown in to give them a dark gray color. Since very early Earth was hot enough to boil away any surface water, one popular idea is that comets brought enough water to fill the oceans during a period of time known as the Late Heavy Bombardment.
That ...

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