News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Close Look at the Heart of Borrelly

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Science  05 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5540, pp. 27-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5540.27b

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Flying on a wing and a prayer, NASA's "aged and wounded" Deep Space 1 spacecraft has returned pictures of the dirty snowball buried within comet Borrelly, revealing recognizable geology on a comet nucleus for the first time. At a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week in Pasadena, California, scientists described Borrelly's rugged terrain and towering jets of dust and vaporized ice that hint at a potentially catastrophic demise for the 8-kilometer-long, bowling-pin-shaped object.