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Ocean-like water in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2
Hartogh, P.; Lis, D.C.; Bockelée-Morvan, D.; de Val-Borro, M.; Biver, N.; Küppers, M.; Emprechtinger, M.; Bergin, E.A.; Crovisier, J.; Rengel, M.; Moreno, R.; Szutowicz, S.; Blake, G.A. (2011). Ocean-like water in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2. Nature (Lond.) 478(7368): 218-220.
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836; e-ISSN 1476-4687, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Hartogh, P.
  • Lis, D.C.
  • Bockelée-Morvan, D.
  • de Val-Borro, M.
  • Biver, N.
  • Küppers, M.
  • Emprechtinger, M.
  • Bergin, E.A.
  • Crovisier, J.
  • Rengel, M.
  • Moreno, R.
  • Szutowicz, S.
  • Blake, G.A.

    For decades, the source of Earth's volatiles, especially water with a deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of (1.558 +/- 0.001) x 10(-4), has been a subject of debate. The similarity of Earth's bulk composition to that of meteorites known as enstatite chondrites(1) suggests a dry proto-Earth(2) with subsequent delivery of volatiles(3) by local accretion(4) or impacts of asteroids or comets(5,6). Previous measurements in six comets from the Oort cloud yielded a mean D/H ratio of (2.96 +/- 0.25) x 10(-4). The D/H value in carbonaceous chondrites, (1.4 +/- 0.1) x 10(-4), together with dynamical simulations, led to models in which asteroids were the main source of Earth's water(7), with <= 10 per cent being delivered by comets. Here we report that the D/H ratio in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2, which originated in the Kuiper belt, is (1.61 +/- 0.24) x 10(-4). This result substantially expands the reservoir of Earth ocean-like water to include some comets, and is consistent with the emerging picture of a complex dynamical evolution of the early Solar System(8,9).

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