October 5, 2011

Hartley 2 comet - Herschel: a new view on the origin of Earth's oceans

An international team, including four scientists from the Paris Observatory and CNRS, annonced the discovery of the first comet - 103P/Hartley 2 - containing water similar to the Earth oceans. This result, acquired with the ESA's infrared telescope Herschel, renew the discussion about the origine of the water on the bleu planet. The small frozen bodies of the Solar System could have a role in the celestial contribution. The information will be publishe on October 13, 2011, in Nature.

 ESA/AOES Medialab; Herschel/HssO Consortium
This illustration shows the orbit of comet Hartley 2 in relation to those of the five innermost planets of the Solar System. The comet made its latest close pass of Earth on 20 October 2010, coming to 19.45 million km. On this occasion, Herschel observed the comet. The inset on the right side shows the image obtained with Herschel's PACS instrument. The two lines are the water data from HIFI instrument. Credits: ESA/AOES Medialab; Herschel/HssO Consortium

Read the Press Release on ESA's website