Monday, August 18, 2014

Rosetta Continues to Astound

So familiar, yet so alien.

Those striations on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko could be erosion lines in a sand dune or arroyo on Earth – yet there they are, millions of miles from the sun on a chunk of ice and rock floating alone in the void.

What would it be like to walk in that valley – it would appear to be a valley to someone walking there – on that eerie world? What would the curve of the valley floor look like, as you walked to the horizon? And how long would it take until you found yourself following your own footprints?

That soil and ice in the bottom of the valley has got to be loose. I can’t imagine what underlying connection there could be between the comet’s two lobes. And the lobes, though joined, look so different, though perhaps the difference is an illusion of perception – the side of the valley we can’t see might be marked just as the other side is – and the “tops” of the lobes appear indistinguishable.

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