Feeds

'Puzzling structures on surface' of YU55 spaceball

NASA releases radar vid of speeding cosmic voyager

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NASA boffins have released a short video clip of the huge dead-black spaceball YU55, roughly the size of a nuclear aircraft carrier, which barrelled past Earth inside the Moon's orbit last night. They say it shows "puzzling structures" on the surface of the mysterious cosmic spheroid.

As YU55 is blacker than charcoal to human eyes, astronomers have mainly been looking at it using radar. The vid above was generated by the 70-metre Deep Space antenna at Goldstone, California, with each frame needing a 20-minute look by the big radar as the spaceball zoomed tumbling into the Earth-Moon system.

"The movie shows the small subset of images obtained at Goldstone on November 7 that have finished processing. By animating a sequence of radar images, we can see more surface detail than is visible otherwise," says radar boffin Lance Benner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The animation reveals a number of puzzling structures on the surface that we don't yet understand. To date, we've seen less than one half of the surface, so we expect more surprises."

From the vid, it's uncertain just what Benner means by "puzzling structures" on the hurtling space spheroid. Naturally we here on the Reg space desk are hoping that in fact YU55 is in fact an alien spaceship or habitat podule of some kind, or possibly home to a secret offworld human space outpost established by Nazis fleeing the end of World War II in rocketships developed from the V2 missile; or of course Tibetans, Elvis etc. Or maybe some kind of ancient evil blobosphere along Fifth Element lines.

Sadly we fear the reality is probably more mundane - curiously shaped craters or ditches, probably, if we're lucky - but one can live in hope. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.