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Data from a U.S. instrument on Rosetta has shown that the water venting off of Comet 67P has increased significantly since the spacecraft arrived.
“In observations over a period of three months [June through August, 2014], the amount of water in vapor form that the comet was dumping into space grew about tenfold,” said Sam Gulkis, principal investigator of the MIRO instrument at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and lead author of a paper appearing in the special issue [of Science].
The amount of water at the maximum level averages about 40 ounces every second.
In related Rosetta news today, data from the comet is showing that the dust leaving its surface is dust that had settled back down after the comet’s last close pass to the Sun.