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Artist's impression of the Rosetta spacecraft
Science & Exploration

Rosetta’s first indication of Tempel 1 composition

01/07/2005 423 views 1 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Rosetta

The ALICE UV spectrometer on Rosetta has seen distinct emissions from hydrogen and oxygen in the coma of Comet 9P/Tempel 1.

These molecules or ‘species’ are the ‘tell-tale’ products of the water sublimation that is driving the comet's current activity. This fascinating preliminary indication comes in the ‘pre-impact’ phase of the Tempel 1 observation campaign.

ALICE was successfully turned on this week and is performing well, as expected. Rosetta scientists have now processed all of the data from the first two days of Tempel 1 observations, carried out on 28 and 29 June.

The MIRO microwave instrument and the OSIRIS imaging system are also working nominally and producing data which are being processed.

For more information:

Alan Stern, ALICE Principal Investigator
E-mail: alan @

Gerhard Schwehm, ESA Rosetta Project Scientist
E-mail: gerhard.schwehm @

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