Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




IRON AND ICE
Probe is headed for duck-shaped comet, images show
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 17, 2014


Twin comets discovered by ESA space probe Rosetta
Paris (UPI) Jul 17, 2013 - The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has been gearing up to attempt a comet landing. Recently, the craft discovered something surprising about its intended target, Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The comet is actually two comets in one -- conjoined twins, or more technically, a "contact binary." As seen in the images captured by Rosetta, Churyumov-Gerasimenko's newly discovered sidekick is slightly smaller and looks as if it was just smashed into the side of the larger mass, like two pieces of clay. Together they measure about 2.5 miles around.

And though it looks and sounds pretty exciting, it's going to make landing a spacecraft on the comet quite a bit more difficult. After entering orbit around the comet next month, Rosetta will release a landing device called Philae onto the comet's surface in November.

"This form restricts potential landing zones," explained Philae navigator Eric Jurado.

France's National Centre for Space Studies apparently jumped the gun in unveiling images of the comet yesterday, along with a press release. They were quickly removed, but not before they made their rounds on the Internet. ESA released a statement saying more images will be released late Thursday. The agency explained the need to at least momentarily withhold information collected via its various missions.

"The aim of a proprietary period is to ensure that the academic teams who spent decades developing and running the sophisticated scientific instruments on-board the spacecraft are able to calibrate and verify the data," explained ESA officials, "as well as reap the rewards of their efforts."

New images reveal that the deep-space comet on which mankind plans to land a probe later this year, has an "extraordinarily irregular", duck-like shape, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Thursday.

The icy body dubbed Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is composed of two parts: one flat and long, the other bulbous, according to a blog on the ESA website.

A photo of the comet was taken from the agency's Rosetta spacecraft, designed to team up with "67P" in August and follow the ice ball on its journey around the Sun.

"This week's images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reveal an extraordinarily irregular shape," said the agency, adding: "This is no ordinary comet."

Some have likened the shape to a duck, it said, "with a distinct body and head."

Rosetta mission manger Fred Jansen said much more analysis and modelling will have to be done to determine how best to fly around the weirdly-shaped rock, and how to place a lander on it.

"We currently see images that suggest a rather complex cometary shape, but there is still a lot that we need to learn before jumping to conclusions," he said.

Rosetta took a highly pixellated image of the rock from a distance of 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles) on July 14, which was then processed for a smoother image.

It also released a movie composed of a sequence of 36 interpolated images separated by 20 minutes.

Dual objects like this, known as "contact binaries", are not uncommon yet it was not clear how they are formed, ESA said.

"The scientific rewards of studying such a comet would be high, as a number of possibilities exist as to how they form."

One theory is two comets melded together in a low-velocity collision during the Solar System's formation billions of years ago, another that a single comet was tugged into a strange shape by the strong gravitational pull of a large object like a planet or the Sun.

A third theory is that "67P" may have once been round but became asymmetric due to ice evaporation as it first entered the Solar System from deep, cold outer Space, or on subsequent orbits around the Sun.

"One could also speculate that the striking dichotomy of the comet's morphology is the result of a near catastrophic impact event that ripped out one side of the comet," said the blog.

"Similarly, it is not unreasonable to think that a large outburst event may have weakened one side of the comet so much that it simply gave away, crumbling into space."

In November, Rosetta will send down a 100-kilogramme (220-pound) refrigerator-sized lander, Philae, which will hook itself to the comet's surface and carry out scientific experiments.

The blog with images can be viewed at: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/07/17/the-dual-personality-of-comet-67pc-g/

.


Related Links
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





IRON AND ICE
Burning down to Rosetta comet rendezvous
Paris (ESA) Jul 09, 2014
It's burn week in space again, and Wednesday, 2 July, marks the start of a fresh set of four orbit correction manoeuvres (OCMs), referred to as the "Far Approach Trajectory" burns. These will be somewhat smaller than those previous but will be conducted weekly, rather than fortnightly. First, a quick recap to bring you up to date. On 7 May, Rosetta began a series of ten OCMs designed to re ... read more


IRON AND ICE
Manned mission to Moon scheduled by Roscosmos for 2020-2031

Landsat Looks to the Moon

Sky-gazers can expect one 'Supermoon' per month for the next three months

NASA LRO's Moon As Art Collection Is Revealed

IRON AND ICE
NASA Rover's Images Show Laser Flash on Martian Rock

ASU, USGS project yields sharpest map of Mars' surface properties

Curiosity Finds Iron Meteorite on Mars

'Dry Ice' Cause of Gullies on Mars

IRON AND ICE
NASA Announces Early Career Faculty Space Tech Research Grants

SSERVI: Serving NASA's Mission to the Moon and Beyond, Part 1

Scotland Dominates Locations List For UK Spaceport

Sun Sends More 'Tsunami Waves' to Voyager 1

IRON AND ICE
Chinese moon rover designer shooting for Mars

Yutu designer's bittersweet

Are China's Astronauts Moonbound

Chinese scientists prepare for lunar base life support system

IRON AND ICE
Russian Resupply Spacecraft to Deliver Snails to ISS for Experiments

Airbus Defence and Space prepares launch of ATV-5 "Georges Lemaitre"

Orbital cargo ship reaches International Space Station

ATV's fiery break-up to be seen from inside

IRON AND ICE
SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Flights Deemed Successful

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

45th Space Wing launches 6 second-generation ORBCOMM satellites

Sanctions on Russian launchers confers advantage to others

IRON AND ICE
Brown Dwarfs May Wreak Havoc on Orbits of Nearby Planets

NASA Mission To Reap Bonanza of Earth-sized Planets

Friction from Tides Could Help Distant Earths Survive, and Thrive

Newfound Frozen World Orbits in Binary Star System

IRON AND ICE
GOES-R Magnetometer Ready for Spacecraft Integration

Saab, Selex ES sign radar contract deal

Royal Air Force's Tornado aircraft getting new RF jamming pods

Projecting a Three-Dimensional Future




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.