Eerste kennis van komeet verrast al

Nieuws | de redactie
11 december 2014 | Uit de eerste metingen van de sonde Rosetta rond komeet Chury komen nu al belangrijke nieuwe inzichten over de ontstaansgeschiedenis van planeten en de bouwstenen van het leven. De verschillen tussen kometen blijken bijvoorbeeld aanzienlijk groter dan men vermoedde.

De onderzoekers geven op Science de volgende korte samenvatting van hun eerste analyses.

“The provenance of water and organic compounds on the Earth and other terrestrial planets has been discussed for a long time without reaching a consensus. One of the best means to distinguish between different scenarios is by determining the D/H ratios in the reservoirs for comets and the Earth’s oceans.

Here we report the direct in situ measurement of the D/H ratio in the Jupiter family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the ROSINA mass spectrometer aboard ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, which is found to be (5.3 ± 0.7) × 10-4, that is, ~3 times the terrestrial value. Previous cometary measurements and our new finding suggest a wide range of D/H ratios in the water within Jupiter family objects and preclude the idea that this reservoir is solely composed of Earth ocean-like water.”

U kunt het hele stuk over de nieuwste Rosetta-data hier lezen. 

Unieke inzichten in geheimzinnige wereld

“This surprising finding could indicate a diverse origin for the Jupiter-family comets – perhaps they formed over a wider range of distances in the young Solar System than we previously thought,” zegt Kathrin Altwegg, de lead author van dit paper, in de nadere uitdieping die de ESA-Rosetta missie publiceert.

“Our finding also rules out the idea that Jupiter-family comets contain solely Earth ocean-like water, and adds weight to models that place more emphasis on asteroids as the main delivery mechanism for Earth’s oceans.”

“We knew that Rosetta’s in situ analysis of this comet was always going to throw up surprises for the bigger picture of Solar System science, and this outstanding observation certainly adds fuel to the debate about the origin of Earth’s water,” zegt Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project onderzoeker.

“As Rosetta continues to follow the comet on its orbit around the Sun throughout next year, we’ll be keeping a close watch on how it evolves and behaves, which will give us unique insight into the mysterious world of comets and their contribution to our understanding of the evolution of the Solar System.”



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