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The Rosetta science team today released their first analysis of the chemical make-up of Comet 67P/C-G’s coma, finding that not surprisingly it is made up mostly of water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.
However, ROSINA [the instrument on Rosetta for doing this analysis] has made the surprising observation that the ratio between these species varies quite significantly, depending on where in the coma Rosetta is. Sometimes carbon monoxide is almost as abundant as water; sometimes it’s only around 10%. In addition, ROSINA has not only detected these main species already, but many of the expected minor ones, such as ammonia, methane, and methanol.