Rosetta update: comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a rubber duckie! (more precisely, a contact binary)

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posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 11:02 AM
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As Rosetta approached its target comet, 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."

www.planetary.org...

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 indeed.
edit on 15-7-2014 by wildespace because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 11:11 AM
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A rubber duckey is right.

Or at least it would have been debunked as such if it were on youtube.



posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 11:13 AM
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So I have a question. With this new data is it possible for the Comet to split as it approaches our Sun? It seems close enough to me. That could be cool.




posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 05:40 PM
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I could easily land on that...
I hope I get reincarnated as a bad ass inter-planetary fighter pilot...



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 02:46 AM
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a reply to: howmuch4another

They are going in the same direction how would they split?



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 02:53 AM
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a reply to: OccamsRazor04

if they are two distinct bodies, then there may be pockets of gas caught between them. or ice.
as it approaches the sun, it will heat and this gas/ice can expand to steam with explosive force.

look at shoemaker-levy 9



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 03:19 AM
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originally posted by: okamitengu
a reply to: OccamsRazor04

if they are two distinct bodies, then there may be pockets of gas caught between them. or ice.
as it approaches the sun, it will heat and this gas/ice can expand to steam with explosive force.

look at shoemaker-levy 9


Shoemaker levy fragments traveled in the same path until colliding with Jupiter. It also was not orbiting the Sun at all.



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: OccamsRazor04

In a comet breakup, while the resulting fragments continue on the same general trajectory, the force that dislodged them will send them slowly moving away from each other.

I have no idea about the possibility of this particular comet's breakup (I shall ask around on the astronomy groups and forums), but it would be quite somethig to observe, especially if Rosetta is still there nearby.

~~~

P.S. what I actually came here for, is to post this cool animation of the Rosetta images:



Source: blogs.esa.int...
edit on 17-7-2014 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 10:51 AM
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originally posted by: OccamsRazor04
a reply to: howmuch4another

They are going in the same direction how would they split?


I'm not an expert that's why I asked but a guess would be the ice connecting the masses melts or like OK said gasses expanding rapidly. Add to that the centrifugal force that Wilds animation shows and I would think it possible. I think it's really interesting.



posted on Jul, 17 2014 @ 11:08 AM
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Some estimated facts about the comet:

It's overall density is very low, 102 kg/m3, somewhere between the density of cork and styrofoam. I think this means that there are a lot of voids filled with gas or vacuum. The heating and expansion of this gas could mean the comet might disintegrate. (but let's wait for estimates)

It's escape velocity is just 0.46 m/s, meaning if you jumped hard enough, you would leave the nucleus and not fall back to it. I think that that's the minimum velocity the fragments have to be pushed from each other for the comet to truly come apart.





 
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