by Jacob Aron
Comet-chaser Rosetta has lucked out with a two-for-one deal. Pictures from the European Space Agency (ESA) probe suggest that its target comet, Churyumov-Gerasimenko, is actually two icy rocks stuck together in an arrangement known as a contact binary.
"This is the reason we organise these missions, to find surprises," says Pedro Lacerda of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany, who has set up a team to analyse results from Rosetta.
Launched 10 years ago, Rosetta's mission is to make the first-ever landing on a comet. This latest discovery could complicate the mission.
It's not yet clear whether these are two different comets that have come together, or parts of a single comet that fractured but remained gravitationally bound.
More - Link >>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25904-rosettas-target-comet-is-a-surprise-double-space-rock.html#.U87rvaKweKI
Source: New Scientist Magazine.
2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium
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