Articles about Comet


New Horizons: We've got a pretty pic of Pluto. Now let's get our SCIENCE on

Comment With everyone going ape over the dazzling new crisp pictures from NASA's New Horizons probe of the dwarf freezeworld Pluto, there are few voices asking if it was worth sending out a space probe to the far end of the Solar System – but it wasn't always that way. Pluto The eighth dwarf ... Very latest snap of Pluto from New …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

World's (possibly) first HoloLens startup promises mixed realities

A mobile upstart has claimed dibs on title of first HoloLens company. Object Theory launched Tuesday under the leadership of ex-Microsoft HoloLens Studio member Michael Hoffman and apps entrepreneur Raven Zachary. The pair claim they will help companies create, develop and launch “mixed reality” applications for Microsoft’s 3D …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

ALIEN SLIME SHOCKER: Approaching comet probably NOT inhabited, say boffins

The Rosetta probe's Earth-bound shepherds have sternly stated that suggestions of alien life within comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko - around which the probe is in orbit - are "pure speculation". Let us put aside the conflict humanity will eventually face if and when we do encounter alien life for a later date, and report …
Spaceguard Center in snow, photo: The Spaceguard Center

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Geek's Guide to Britain As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …
SA Mathieson, 06 Jul 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

Top astrobiologists say that the approaching comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko could be loaded with slumbering alien organisms capable of living on Earth, which will wake up and become active as the frosty spaceball comes nearer and nearer to the Sun. Dr Max Wallace and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe say that data from the …
Lewis Page, 06 Jul 2015
Comet sinkhole

Rosetta spots potholes IN SPAAACE: Someone call the galactic council

The Rosetta probe, currently in orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has spotted what appear to be massive sinkholes on the comet's surface that are thought to be caused by the cosmic snowball melting in the Sun's rays. Comet sinkhole map The comet's holier than Pope Francis (click to enlarge) The holes, some of …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

SpaceX to blast Microsoft's HoloLens visors into SPAAAAACE

A pair of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality goggles will be beamed up to the International Space Station on Sunday as part of the cargo in SpaceX's resupply mission. Youtube Video Astronauts will use the HoloLens kit to communicate with ground control and help with complex space station repairs. The two units on this …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

The European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe will continue to study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko until September 2016 – after which the craft will be sent crashing into the mysterious rock. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko The latest image of the comet from Rosetta The Rosetta mission is at least a decade-old, and it …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again

The Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been in contact again, the European Space Agency has confirmed – and the lander is getting more than enough sunshine on its solar panels to power itself continuously. Battery warm & solar panels getting energy. Anxious to explore, comet day & night! More about # …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

The European Space Agency (ESA) says the Philae lander, Earth's unofficial ambassador to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has sent a second burst of data back home. Philae contacted its hominid masters over the weekend, a much hoped-for event after the craft fell into a shady spot on the comet and depleted its batteries. The …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

The Philae lander has woken from hibernation for the first time since its 60-hour, energy-draining mission on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last November, scientists at the European Space Agency confirmed today. Signals from the probe reached the ESA at its ops HQ in Darmstadt late last night. Philae, whose contact went …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jun 2015
Approximate locations of five lander candidates initially identified in high-resolution OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera images taken in Dec 2014. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam

Boffins, feeling around in dark for Philae, lit up by bright spot on Comet 67/P

Vid The European Space Agency has determined a "good candidate" for the location of its Philae probot, which successfully landed on Comet 67/P in November last year. Since then, the location of the spacecraft's final resting place has remained a mystery for boffins working on the Rosetta mission. However, on Thursday the ESA said …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Jun 2015

Glass door to the ancient past FOUND ON MARS

Rock-boffins have used data from satellites to scope out impact-crater glass on Mars for a glimpse into its past, based on the theory that glass formed during hypervelocity happenings can encapsulate and preserve earthly bio-signatures. A study lead by Brown University's Peter Schultz found that organic matter, including plant …
Festival of the Spoken Nerd. Image credit: Kitty Walker

Stand-up and be counted²: Nerd is the funny word

Comedy Review Anyone who, like me, is keen to add an educational twist to traditional comedy or circus skills should check out these three geeky Edinburgh previews. With any luck, you'll be able to watch the shows at your local playhouse. As for me, I managed to pull myself away from the latest episode of King of the Nerds to join my fellow …
Lucy Orr, 06 Jun 2015
A crack on comet 67P

ESA shortlists three medium-sized missions for 2025 launch

The European Space Agency (ESA) has whittled down the list of projects it is considering for deployment in the year 2025 and is now considering three missions for liftoff in that year. The three projects are: Ariel, aka Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, which would analyse the atmospheres of around 500 …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2015
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

OMG, our merger is working, LOL – Dixons Carphone CEO

The merger seems to be working out for Dixons Carphone — both sales and profits are up, according to a trading update for Q4 and fiscal 2015. The company said like-for-like group revenue for the 17 weeks ended 2 May was up six per cent; rising 13 per cent in the UK and Ireland; up one per cent in the Nordics; up eight per cent …
Simon Rockman, 03 Jun 2015
Stonehenge by cc 2.0 attribution no derivatives

Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released images of what it's cautiously calling "an unusual formation of boulders in the Aker region on the large lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ... reminiscent of so-called 'balancing rocks' on Earth." The three stones, depicted below, appear to be have a rather small footprint. So …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
Bubblecar Bond MkD

Messerschmitts, Sinclairs and a '50s living room: The Bubblecar Museum

Review Sir Alec Issigonis' Mini may, perhaps, be the most famous of British small cars, and the Fiat 500 one of the most well known continental ones, but before either of those appeared, came plenty of other tiny vehicles, aimed at providing transport on a budget to people across Europe. With engines as small as 122cc, often only three …
Nigel Whitfield, 16 May 2015
Blue Origins

Amazon boss Bezos' Blue Origins declares test flight 'flawless' ... if you overlook one snafu

Video Blue Origins, the rocket company started by Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos, has staged its first test flight – with mixed results. Youtube Video The New Shepard rocket launched from the firm's test site in Texas on Wednesday – although word of the blastoff emerged on Thursday afternoon. It reached its target altitude of 307,000 feet …
Iain Thomson, 01 May 2015


The Philae Lander should soon see enough sun to resume operations on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkoduring April or May, the European Space Agency's (ESA's) lander manager Stephan Ulamec told the European Geosciences Union General Assembly earlier this week. Philae hitched a ride to 67P aboard the Rosetta probe and descended to …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015
Rosetta's view of Earth on March 5th, 2005

ESA reveals Rosetta's snaps of MARS and EARTH

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a trove of images captured by the Rosetta probe during its journey to Comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta launched in 2004 but dipped into Earth's gravity well three times, and Mars' once, to conduct “gravity assist manoeuvres” designed to speed it on its way to 67P. During …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015
Artist's conception of a watery asteroid being torn apart white dwarf GD 61

SCARESTEROID of the week to miss Earth on Friday

The UK press has noticed that NASA's Small Object Database Browser seems to show an asteroid passing close to Earth – and therefore we're all going to die on Friday. We won't: while object 2014-YB35 will pass within 2.8 million miles (4.48 million km) of Earth, which qualifies as a “near miss” in astronomical terms, it's not …

Philae's either screening Rosetta's calls or isn't home

The Rosetta probe's attempts to determine if the Philae lander is alive have come to nought. The Rosetta mission departed Earth in 2004 and planned to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko a decade later. That plan worked and the probe reached the comet then, as planned, send the Philae lander to 67P's surface. That plan also …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Mar 2015
Rosetta Selfie from 10 miles

Rosetta SNIFFS molecular nitrogen on Comet 67P

The Rosetta orbiter has spotted molecular nitrogen, N2, on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency (ESA) has confirmed. The ESA's relaying news from a freshly-published paper titled molecular nitrogen in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko indicates a low formation temperature. The presence of nitrogen on 67P …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015
Philae GIF

Rosetta probe to try contact with Philae lander on Thursday

The European Space Agency (ESA) says its comet-circling Rosettta probe will try to make contact with the Philae lander starting Thursday. In case you've come in late, this story starts in 2004 when the ESA sent a craft called Rosetta in the direction of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta's payload included Philae, a lander …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
DSS 35 deep space telescope

NASA upgrades Rosetta, Voyager and moon landing tracker

NASA has upgraded the Australian facility housing antennae that captured signals from the first Moon landing and still helps to track the Voyager missions. The Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station already houses Deep Space Stations (DSS) 34, 43, 45 and DSS 46. The latter is a 26 metre antenna that received the first video of …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015

Channel on track: British tech insolvencies fall to seven-year low

It is official: 2014 numbers for corporate deaths in the Brit tech channel have slumped to a seven-year low, figures from credit reference agency Graydon UK confirm. Some 48 local suppliers went under in Q4, taking the tally of insolvencies for the 12 months to 198 versus 293 in 2013 – annual levels not seen since prior the …
Paul Kunert, 16 Feb 2015

Update - Boffins: COMETS are like FRIED ICE CREAM. Mmm

Boffins working for Caltech and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created comet-like stuff in a cryostat. Along the way, they've decided that your average comet is kind of like fried ice-cream: squishy on the inside, crusty on the outside, with organic chemicals dusted on top. Both the ESA's Rosetta and NASA's Deep Impact …


The European Space Agency has released an image it says hints at where the Philae lander dispatched to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko came to rest. Comet-watchers will recall that Philae was carried to 67P by the Rosetta spacecraft, which dropped the washing-machine-sized lander last November 12th. All went well until the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015
The COSIMA instrument aboard Rosetta

I'll get my coat – there's a dusty one flying off Comet 67P

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is shedding four years worth of accumulated dust as it hurtles towards the Sun, say scientists after studying the output of the Rosetta spacecraft's COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser, aka COSIMA. A gaggle of astroboffins have penned a letter titled “Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sheds dust …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jan 2015
Comet 67P closeup


The European Space Agency (ESA) has released details of the first bushel of studies derived from the Rosetta spacecraft's visit to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The journal Science has devoted a special issue to seven studies of the comet, but let's do a summary here. For starters, boffins have decided that 67P is fluffy, …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2015

Oz father and son team plan suborbital spaceplane

An Australian father and son team is attempting to develop a radical low Earth orbit spaceplane ultimately intended as a "space courier service" to return payloads from aloft. High-altitude ballooning (HAB) vets Robert Brand and son Jason, 12, (pictured below after one of their balloon flights) are in the initial stages of " …
Lester Haines, 22 Jan 2015
Unknown planets could exist beyond Pluto

OTHER EARTHS may be orbiting our Sun beyond Neptune

Astroboffins believe at least two hidden planets may exist in our solar system – far beyond Pluto. If the claim from scientists at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge is confirmed, the "results may be truly revolutionary for astronomy," said Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, who co-authored the study …
Team Register, 18 Jan 2015
Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy's greenish glow visible with naked eye this weekend

Northern stargazers in low-light environments should be able to pick up a greenish-looking space rock in the night's sky – as Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) makes its closest approach to Earth in living memory. Comet Lovejoy expelling carbon So long, won't see you later Lovejoy, named after the Australian amateur astronomer …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2015
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

Ground control to 2014: A year in SPAAAAAAAAAACE

Review of 2014 The year 2014 belonged, without question, to the comet-chasing Rosetta mission, which moved humanity’s space exploration programme forward by landing on a moving space rock out in the depths of the cosmos for the first time ever. The first step in the epic journey this year was accomplished in January, when boffins at the …
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Failed would-be COMET saviour now FAILS to save his own biz

A creditors' meeting has been called for Lewisons Wholesale, an electrical retailer run by Clive Coombes, the man that tried and failed to resurrect the brand name of fallen UK High Street giant Comet. As revealed by the Register last month, Lewisons Wholesale was struggling to remain afloat and had notched up eight County Court …
Paul Kunert, 15 Dec 2014

Rosetta beams back colour pics: 67P shades of grey are SO HOT right now

Pic Astro boffins working on the European Space Agency's lauded Rosetta mission, which spectacularly landed a probot on a speeding space rock last month, have revealed that Comet 67P is, well, very grey. The ESA's OSIRIS team meticulously produced a colour image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by superimposing photos "taken …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014

Real Ale TWATS: In SPAAAACE, no one can churn your cream

Something for the Weekend, Sir? How can you get pissed, generously fed AND intellectually intrigued for a mere tenner in this day and age? Easy: sign up to attend one of The Register’s Christmas Lectures. Oh, except you can’t because the last one was held earlier this week in central London. Sorry if you missed it, heh. OK, a few pints won’t get the average …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 Dec 2014

Did rock-hard aliens turn young Earth MOIST? New probe data emerges

Data from Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta probe has cast further doubt on the theory Earth's oceans were seeded by icy space rocks pummeling our planet. In its ten-year game of catchup with Comet 67/P, the craft has been using its Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) to sample stuff flying off the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Dec 2014
The Rugby Tuning Coil

The Information Age: A day out for grown-up children?

Exhibition Review The Science Museum's new Information Age gallery opened in October to great fanfare. Most of that fanfare, however, was concerned with an elderly lady having sent a tweet, rather than the substance of the exhibition itself. Youtube Video So, with the Christmas holidays upon us, and a pressing need to find things to fill up …
Nigel Whitfield, 06 Dec 2014
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander

The European Space Agency has conducted deeper analysis of just what happened to the Philae lander during its descent to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and now believes the craft bounced off the wandering rock three times, not twice as was previously thought to the be case. The new analysis re-tells the now-familiar story of …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Dec 2014
Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 8th

Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring

Scientists on the Rosetta comet mission team report they are confident that the Philae lander is not down for the count and should be revived in the spring or summer of next year once it has had a chance to warm up a bit. "We expect to have enough energy to boot around March next year. Then Philae needs to be heated until we can …
Iain Thomson, 27 Nov 2014
Fraud image

Comet’s might-have-been saviour 'not paying biz debts'

Clive Coombes, the man who tried and failed to save the Comet brand, appears to be struggling to keep his existing business Lewisons Wholesale (LS) afloat, with supplier debts now mounting. The electronics retailing entrepreneur had planned to buy the name of the once mighty High Street giant that went under in late 2012, but …
Paul Kunert, 20 Nov 2014
CGI image of Lunar Mission One on the Moon

HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox

A UK nonprofit, funded via Kickstarter – and endorsed by famous rockstar TV boffin Brian Cox – aims to land a robot probe (a probot, as some call them) on the Moon: one with an unusual purpose. And the team is sure that if the mission is a success, there will be human DNA at the site. CGI image of Lunar Mission One on the …
Spitting Image God

LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Scientists at the ESA claim that "organic" molecules - the so-called building blocks of life itself - have been found on the icy surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the sadly now defunct Philae lander probot. Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cometary Sampling and Composition instrument (COSAC), told BBC …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014

It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Pic Early-bird skywatchers in the US are in for a treat this week: the annual Leonid meteor shower starts just after midnight and will peak just before dawn on Tuesday. leonids If you wish upon a star... "We're predicting 10 to 15 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space …
Iain Thomson, 17 Nov 2014
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS

European Space Agency (ESA) boffins reckon they may have located the final touchdown site for their comet-intercepting Philae lander, after its bouncy landing caused them to lose track of it temporarily. Philae's bouncing touchdown seen in Rosetta NAVCAM pics Philae's touchdown site seen by Rosetta's navigation camera. The …
Philae ROLIS view of the comet landing site from 40m

Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

Philae's final hurrah (for now at least) on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ended with success, the mission's jubilant boffins confirmed late last night. The fridge-sized, plucky probot, which made the historic landing on the speeding, icy space-rock 300 million miles (or 500 million kilometres) from Earth on Wednesday, was …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Nov 2014
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Looking GOOD, probot. Philae good, humans: 'Yes ... YES! The lander is sitting on the ground'

QuoTW This was the week when a bunch of European space boffins made history by successfully landing a man-made object on a speeding, icy comet, after a few dramatic, bouncy bumps along the way. The Register's space vulture Brid-Aine Parnell witnessed the tense affair unfold at the European Space Agency's ops complex in Darmstadt, …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Nov 2014
2001 HAL poster

It’s PAYBACK time as HUMANS send a PROBE up ALIEN body

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “We hit something the size of South London from ten years away.” Thus spake commentard Colin Ritchie the other day in response to The Register’s ongoing coverage of Rosetta’s extraordinary space odyssey. 2001: A Space Odyssey - The Monolith On The Moon The significance of such an achievement should not be underestimated. In …
Alistair Dabbs, 15 Nov 2014