Space & Astronomy
'Pyramid' photographed on comet's surface
By T.K. Randall
October 17, 2014 · 21 comments
A close-up view of the 'Cheops' pyramid rock on comet 67P. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS
The Rosetta probe has captured images of a pyramid-shaped rock that has been nicknamed 'Cheops'.
Since arriving at comet 67P back in August, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has been taking large numbers of photographs in an effort to capture every minor detail of the unexplored body around which it now orbits.
One feature that scientists have found particularly intriguing is a large rock in the shape of a pyramid that has been found on the comet's surface. Nicknamed "Cheops" after the largest pyramid at Giza in Egypt, the stone is 82ft tall and exhibits unusual features.
"The surface of Cheops seems to be very craggy and irregular," said Rosetta imaging system principal investigator Holger Sierks. "Especially intriguing are small patches on the boulder's surface displaying the same brightness and texture as the underground."
"It looks almost as if loose dust covering the surface of the comet has settled in the boulder's cracks. But, of course, it is much too early to be sure."
Next month Rosetta's companion lander Philae will be attempting a daring descent involving a highly risky landing maneuver that has never been attempted before.
If successful it will return the first ever images taken from the surface of a comet.
Source: Discovery News
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