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Rosetta's comet composition yields an unpleasant odor
Posted: Mon, Oct 27, 2014, 8:09 AM ET (1209 GMT)
Rosetta image of comet 67P in August 2014 (ESA) The comet being studied by Europe's Rosetta mission has a composition that would, if it could be smelled, produce an unpleasant odor. Analyses of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the Rosetta spacecraft have revealed what scientists said was a "surprisingly rich" chemical composition, including traces of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen cyanide. Combined, those chemicals would produce a odor that combined rotten eggs with a horse stable. Scientists hope the compositional data provided by Rosetta, currently orbiting the comet, will help them better understand the differences between comets that originated in the Kupier Belt with those from the more distant Oort Cloud.
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