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Friday, October 24, 2014

European Scientists Conclude That Distant Comet Smells Terrible

For years people have been wondering what a comet smells like. Well now European scientists can answer that question. The European spacecraft was orbiting a distant comet. "It stinks!" Says Kathrin Altwegg, a researcher at the Univercity of Bren in Switzerland who runs an instrument called ROSINA that picked up the door.

The ESA, the European Space Agency, has posted a full rundown of the comets BO on its website. The post talks about ammonia(NH3), hydrogen sulphide(H2S), formaldehyde(CH2O), and methanol(CH3OH).

Of course everyone who goes near the comet has to wear a spacesuit, but still the stench goes through the suit and smells like sharing a horse barn with a drunk and with a dozen rotten eggs. "It's quite a smelly mixture," says Altwegg.

Why didn't humans know what comets before? "That's mostly becuase we've never been that close to a comet," Altwegg says. The Roseta Mission, the mission to smell a comet, is now just 5miles from the comets surface. The chemicals are clues to how the comet, and maybe our solar system, formed. For that reason, Altwegg doesn't mind the stench. "It's a little smelly, but at the moment it's a lot of fun to go work every morning." She says. "Fun for now, but that could change. The comet is currently getting closer and closer to the sun, and like anything you leave out in the sun too long it will soon start to smell worse.

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