posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 11:02 AM
, the shape of the nucleus was revealed to be a contact binary
-- two unequal-sized objects in contact with each other:
The whole nucleus measures 4 by 3.5 kilometers, in good agreement with Hubble and Spitzer estimates. It is estimated that the two components would
have come into contact at a relative speed of about 3 meters per second in order to stick together in this way.
This unusual shape could present a navigational challenge for the Philae lander team. The Philae navigator Eric Jurado says that "navigation around
such a body should not be much more complex than around a nucleus of irregular spherical type, but landing the Philae probe [scheduled for November
11], however, could be more difficult, as this form restricts potential landing zones."
That's one funky comet! I'm very much looking forward to the close-up images by Rosetta. Trying to land a probe on such a body is a problem
edit on 15-7-2014 by wildespace because: (no reason given)