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NASA: It's snowing on our comet (photos)

NASA said analysis of the photos of Comet Hartley 2 which was visited by its EPOXI spacecraft on Nov. 4 show about 1-inch to 1-foot particles of snow shooting from the comet's surface.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 11 Andy Smith/ZDNet

NASA said analysis of the photos of Comet Hartley 2 which was visited by its EPOXI spacecraft on Nov. 4 show about 1-inch to 1-foot particles of snow shooting from the comet's surface. Plus, here's a photo gallery of the first images from Hartley 2.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD/Brown

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A high-resolution photo of the comet's nucleus shows a cloud of individual particles.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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It's a snowstorm. NASA says the particles range in size from a golf ball to a basketball and are porousand fluffy.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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Medium resolution images confirm the cloud's existance.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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In this image a star's straight path is marked in red while individual snow particles have a more random movement.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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If you've got red-blue tinted glasses (red in front of the left eye) you can see this in 3D. Circles indicate individual particles.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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Infrared scans show carbon dioxide, dust, and ice from the same locations of the nucleus. Water vapor is seen in a different region.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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EPOXI's last mission had it fly past comet Tempel 1 and send a loaded impactor to explode on its surface. Temple 1 is about 5 time larger than Hartley 2 is about 1.4 miles long while Tempel 1 is about 4.7 miles long. At the time, EPOXI was called Deep Impact but was renamed after it was assigned a new mission.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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This image was taken about 500 miles from the comet. The neck is about 0.25 miles wide.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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An artist's drawing of EPOXI closing in on Hartley 2.

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An artist shows what Deep Impact must have looked like as it flew past Tempel 1 in 2005.

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