Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rosetta observes fluffy fractal particles from the early solar system in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk

I haven't written anything about fractals in this space in a long time, but this news item deserves mention.

A news brief in today's Science magazine (Clery 2016) reports that the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has observed a population of fluffy fractal particles in the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk, which it is studying. The particles were observed at a wide range of magnifications, from ~ 1mm to 1 µ, using three different instruments on the probe. The shapes are statistical fractals that might have formed through the gentle agglomeration of particles. They are thought to have formed in the early solar system.

You can watch to parts of the relevant presentation that was apparently lived streamed from the ESA. The discussion by Thurid Mannel starts around 28:51, but it is continually interrupted by periods during which the signal was lost.

Fluffy fractal particles from the origins of the solar system! Hot stuff!

I have embedded the video below for your convenience.

Reference cited

Clery, Daniel (2016). Rostta ends 2-year comet mission with final descent. Science 353(6307): 1482-1483.

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