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Proceedings Paper

Evidence for liquid water on comets
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Paper Abstract

The electron-microscope analysis of the Orgeuil carbonaceous chondrite, thought to be the extinct core of a comet, shows many archaen microfossils adapted for both cold and hot liquid water environments. Since water is a prerequisite for life, its presence on a comet would have important implications for interplanetary cross-contamination of the planets as well as strongly impact the dynamics and evolution of a comet. Therefore we develop a wet comet model to explore the consequences of liquid water on Mars-crossing comets and hypothesize that all the periodic comets, such as P/Halley, P/Wild-2, and P/Borrelly show signs of significant liquid water processing. The wet comet model is shown to be compatible with observation, as well as provide significantly better explanations for well-known cometary anomalies. Finally, the model predicts that the results of both Rosetta and Deep Impact missions will deviate from expectations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 September 2005
PDF: 19 pages
Proc. SPIE 5906, Astrobiology and Planetary Missions, 59060E (22 September 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.624092
Show Author Affiliations
Robert B. Sheldon, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5906:
Astrobiology and Planetary Missions
Richard B. Hoover; G. Randall Gladstone; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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