Feeds

Earth escapes obliteration by comet

Elenin breaks up into teeny bits and misses planet

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

NASA has released another statement on Comet Elenin, the totally insignificant comet it keeps giving out statements about, to say that it has broken up into "smaller, even less significant, chunks of dust and ice".

"This trail of piffling particles will remain on the same path as the original comet, completing its unexceptional swing through the inner solar system this fall," the statement added.

The space boffins' protestation comes after widespread internet rumours that Comet Elenin was not in the least bit insignificant and would a) crash into the Earth and obliterate all life, b) pass close enough to the planet that its gravitational pull would cause loads of earthquakes and similar cataclysms and obliterate all life or c) do any number of other apocalyptic things that would obliterate all life.

Back in August, NASA assured the planet that while "often, comets are portrayed as harbingers of gloom and doom in movies and on television, most pose no threat to Earth".

The totally clear wording and apparent transparency of the space agency only served to throw further fuel on the fire of speculation that this was some sort of elaborate cover-up.

No doubt similar theorists will now infer that the comet was blown up outside the solar system and its hurtling path towards Earth deviated by some sort of explosion deep in its core affected by a motley crew of space drillers, most of whom tragically died during the mission.

NASA, however, is sticking to its guns.

"I cannot begin to guess why this little comet became such a big internet sensation," Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Programme Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said in the statement.

"The scientific reality is this modest-sized icy dirtball's influence upon our planet is so incredibly minuscule that my subcompact automobile exerts a greater gravitational influence on Earth than the comet ever would. That includes the date it came closest to Earth (Oct 16), when the comet's remnants got no closer than about 22 million miles [35.5 million km]," he added. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.