How Do You Make A Homemade Comet Nucleus Model?

Homemade Comet Nucleus Model

We’ll need the following materials to construct a comet nucleus:

  1. Dry Ice (5 lbs) is available from ice companies or ice cream parlors; CAUTION: Dry ice is -79 degrees C (-110 degrees F). Any more than brief exposure will cause “burns. Be careful when handling it.
  2. Water (around half a gallon) in a pitcher;
  3. Ammonia (a few drops or sprays of window cleaner);
  4. Dirt (fine-grained, one handful);
  5. Corn Starch, or Worcester Sauce (a couple of pinches or drops);
  6. Trash Bags (2);
  7. Large Bowl or Small Pot;
  8. Water Proof Gloves (the better insulated the warmer your hands will remain);
  9. Cloth Towel; Paper or Cloth Towels; Hammer;
  10. Mixing Spoon or Stick.

A garbage bag should be used to line the bowl. Place the remaining garbage bag on the floor. Fill the basin halfway with water. Mix in the cornstarch or Worcester sauce, ammonia, and part of the soil.

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Put on your gloves. Wrap the dry ice in a cotton towel and set it on the floor over the garbage bag. Using the hammer, crush the dry ice into a powder. Pour the dry ice powder into the water gradually, mixing as you go. There will be a lot of vapor produced. Dry ice, water, and other materials should combine to make a thickening slush. Continue to whisk for a few seconds while it thickens.

Now, using the garbage bag to pull the slush away from the edges of the bowl, compact the slush into a ball with your gloved hands. Continue filling and molding the ball until it forms a large lump.

Remove the garbage bag. Scatter additional dirt on top of the bulge. Pour part of the remaining water over the lump, stirring it as you go, until a film of water ice develops all over it.

Keep an eye on the activity of your little comet nucleus. If the water ice covering is intact, it may be handled without gloves. Pour water over a sticky place to remove it. It hisses and pops when carbon dioxide sublimes (transforms from a solid to a gas) and pushes its way through weak places in the water ice crust. This causes small jetting forces in actual nuclei, which may cause the nucleus to spin, slightly modify its orbit, or break entirely (or “calve”).

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