For the latest on what NASA is doing, check out their Space@NASA website. It not only features all their headline news, but podcasts to accompany every story. One that I particulary liked was, “The Sun Rips Off a Comet’s Tail,” about how a coronal mass ejection cut the tail off the Comet Encke while it was passing too close the the sun. NASA says this has surely happened before, but this is the first time in history a spacecraft has filmed it. The footage is pretty cool.
I asked a professor how a comet (ice), can pass that close to the sun without melting, and I was informed that even where this comet was (inside Mercury’s orbit), it’s not that hot. Remember, earth would be much colder itself if it weren’t for our greenhouse effect.