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1 August 2015

Lots of links and information now emerging on the Rosetta mission. At http://phys.org/print357461396.html … is a post on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its interaction with the solar wind. It is the constant battle between the comet and the solar wind that sculpts the ion tail – and Rosetta's instruments are monitoring the detail. Activity has been increasing the closer the comet gets to perihelion – a fortnight away.

At http://phys.org/print357541933.html … organic compounds discovered by Rosetta include molecules that can form amino acids, the building blocks of life. This seems to indicate organic compounds that are capable of aiding and abetting life existed in the early solar system – at the very start of things (assuming Big Bang is a reality). The paper was published in Science journal. It seems one of the original goals of Rosetta was to determine the composition of volatile compounds in the comet's nucleus. These have not all been analysed – so there is a story yet to be told.

A similar theme is at http://phys.org/print357491868.html and http://phys.org/print357529038.html.

At http://phys.org/print357367929.html — the subject is Ceres and at http://phys.org/print357457867.html … it is Pluto and hints of an underground, or under the ice, ocean.

Meanwhile, at http://phys.org/print357533836.html … we have a story about the SOHO project, set up to study the Sun (a joint mission between ESA and NASA). However, the wide ranging cameras of SOHO have also found 3000 comets over the last 20 years. Most of these are comets known as sun grazers and burst apart when they got too near the Sun.

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