Rosetta spacecraft snaps an interesting shot of a comet
Friday, September 12, 2014, 1:16 PM - Take a look at the video above -- it looks like spilled ice cream, but it's really a colored diagram of a comet.
Specifically, it's the belly and head of comet "67P."
According to NASA, scientists have found that the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- the target of study for the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission -- can be divided into several regions, each characterized by different classes of features.
High-resolution images of the comet reveal a unique, multifaceted world.
The colours represent different regions, featuring cliffs, depressions, craters, boulders and even parallel grooves.
"Never before have we seen a cometary surface in such detail," says OSIRIS Principal Investigator Holger Sierks from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Science (MPS) in Germany.
In some of the images, one pixel corresponds to a scale of 75 cm on the nucleus. "It is a historic moment -- we have an unprecedented resolution to map a comet," he says.
While some of these areas appear to be quiet, others seem to be shaped by the comet's activity, in which grains emitted from below the surface fall back to the ground in the nearby area.
"This first map is, of course, only the beginning of our work," says Sierks. "At this point, nobody truly understands how the surface variations we are currently witnessing came to be."
The Rosetta spacecraft snapped the picture of the "rubber duck" shaped comet using a special imaging system called "OSIRIS."
A map showing the comet's various regions is available here.
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Files from NASA and CNN