Feeds

Spinning SPACE DUCK is comet-chasing Rosetta probe's PREY

New photos reveal comet 67P has two distinct parts

The next step in data security

New images captured by the Rosetta comet-chaser reveal that its target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, may be a “contact binary” – a class of object with two distinct and different segments.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been kind enough to provide an animated GIF of the comet to show off the two distinct parts of the rock.

Rotating view of comet 67P/C-G on 14 July 2014. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Rotating view of comet 67P/C-G on 14 July 2014.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The peculiar shape of comet 67P has, the ESA says been compared to that of a duck. A rubber duck, presumably.

Whatever the object resembles, ESA boffins say such objects aren't unusual. Just how they end up in these shapes isn't known.

One hypothesis suggests the comet is a cosmic mash-up that came about when two smaller rocks collided. Another idea the ESA is floating is that comet is a pile of rubble that has been pulled into its odd shape by gravity.

Or perhaps there was once a girdle of ice about the “waist” of the comet, but the ice has burned off during its long cosmic wanderings.

The .GIF above was captured 12,000km from the comet. Rosetta reaches its destination on August 6th, when we'll get a better look at whether it quacks like a duck as well as looking like a duck. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.