“Cooking” a Comet

OK, we didn’t turn on a burner or nuke anything, but the ingredients did change temperature in my demonstration “Cooking a Comet.”  My first presentation was at Grimsley High School where we could throw the finished comet into the woods outside our classroom.

The tail was beautiful as our dirty snowball completed its portion of a parabolic curve, ending suddenly in the leaves carpeting the copse floor.  And we learned that dry ice can cause a huge blister very quickly, so please exercise caution when “Cooking” a Comet.


H2O: Comet water has more deuterium in it than Earth’s water. This comet at least would make an unlikely source for Earth’s water.

Silicates: comet sand would not have bacteria and other extra thingsDSC00374

Organic compounds: molecules that contain Carbon. 16 related organic molecules were discovered on Comet 67 P

Methane: in 2004 discovered in some Oort Cloud comets.   Some Earth methane comes from cows 1 cow up to 120 kg of methane per year

Ammonia and others: lander Philae found that comets stink!

Formaldehyde, cyanide and others not included in today’s model

 CO2 very cold at -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit

“Singing” from Comet 67 P was discovered by orbiter Rosetta (12 year mission, ended Sept 30, 2016)

Ingredients for “Cooking” a Comet

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide)
  • 2 spoons of sand
  • a dash of ammonia (glass cleaner)
  • methane (cow manure)
  • a dash of dark organic material (Soda)


  1. Line mixing bowl with garbage bag
  2. Arrange all ingredients and utensils in front
  3. Pour 2 cups of water in the bowl.
    1. substantially different from that found on Earth. That is, the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the water from the comet was determined to be three times that found for terrestrial water. This makes it very unlikely that water found on Earth came from comets such as comet 67P,
  4. Stir in sand
  5. Add dash of ammonia.
  6. Add dash of organic material (soda) Place dry ice in 3 bags and pound/crush it
  7. Add in a cup of cow manure
  8. Add dry ice in mixing bowl.
  9. Stir until almost frozen.
  10. Lift the comet out using the plastic liner, shaping as a snowball.
  11. Unwrap the comet and display.


2 thoughts on ““Cooking” a Comet

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