back to article 'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet

The European Space Agency has maneuvered its Rosetta probe into the perfect position for a selfie with its target – comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta selfie "Breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck" (click to enlarge) The image was taken on September 7 using cameras on Rosetta's Philae lander that will …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Tricky landing

    If that duck is rotating as rapidly as it appears in the shot in the article (about once every 3 seconds)

    getting a decent landing and staying there will be quite a trick.

    Whatever happens the trip so far is pretty amazing , not to say a great demonstration of astronomical patience.

    I take my hat off to the crew at ESA!

    1. mr.K

      Re: Tricky landing

      It isn't, it would rip itself apart if it was. The rotation period is about 13 hours.

    2. peabody3000

      Re: Tricky landing

      no, it rotates once every few hours. the clip speeds things up immensely

  2. mr.K

    Collision vs other explaination

    I have trouble with the theory that it is made up of two bodies that fused together after a collision. While I see that it is possible, after all with such low gravity the two bodies could have collided with a speed as low as their combined escape velocity that isn't more than walking pace, and a slow one at that. Possible doesn't equal to likely in my humble opinion though. Wouldn't it be far more likely with the somewhat random orbits these things have that any rocks that collided would hit at far greater speeds?

    Anybody enlightened out there that could tell me what I am missing?

    Oh, and well done ESA for letting Rosetta take part in popular culture and take picture for her snapgram media.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Collision vs other explaination

      It's possible both bits of rock where ejected after an impact of a much larger body into another larger body, giving them very similar orbits and speed. That would allow then to come together very slowly, possibly after bouncing off each other a few times.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Collision vs other explaination

        Also, I think that comets that would collide at anything but the gentlest of bumps would result in a rather large number of rather small rocks, instead of a Space Duck.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Collision vs other explaination

          My bet is it's eroded from round...

        2. peabody3000

          Re: Collision vs other explaination

          the duck shape is from two roundish objects touching each other with dust and small chunks collected at the "neck." it would have taken a very long time for that whole collection of junk to fully settle into the relatively stable rubble pile it is now. its gravity is so low that if you gave it a swift kick even with your own comparably tiny foot it might break up a bit into a swirl of dust and rocks before gliding back together

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    double plus upvotes for the photo - spacecraft in foreground, spacerock in background - brilliant.

    1. phil dude

      Re: wow



  4. JCitizen


    git 'em Rosetta!!

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon


    That's no moon!

  6. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Amazing picture

    Only one thing I regret - that is hasn't been taken by a human.

    But, really, this could easily be a cover picture for some classic Sci-Fi novel!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course, there's one important question...

    Who owns the copyright to this photograph...

    1. TheProf

      Re: Of course, there's one important question...

      Good point. I believe NASA made all or at least some of their 'space photographs' public domain. Considering these are 'commissioned' using money from the public purse I'd hope that 'we' own the copyright.

      1. Brian O'Byrne

        Re: Of course, there's one important question...

        This is an ESA mission, so NASA rules do not apply.

        This link appears to be relevant in terms of the rights granted to the space images:

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: Who owns the copyright to this photograph...

      This guy?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who owns the copyright to this photograph...

        Well, one person got the reference, anyway...

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Get the petition going now!

    If the ESA don't put the lander where the beak should go, then I think we should pull out of the EU immediately. Space Ducks have rights too!

  9. WalterAlter

    "Contact binary, or two-lobed objects, where the lobes are nearly the same size, may also be strengthless. NEA contact binaries may have formed by being spun up, but then failing to form a stable binary system. Few cometary nuclei have been imaged using radar, but several of those also seem to have a contact binary, or two-lobed structure. 103P/Hartley 2, and 8P/Tuttle both have nearly equal lobes joined by a narrow waist [1,2]."

    Asteroids, Comets, Meteors Helsinki, 2014

    Radar characterization of asteroids and comets

  10. peabody3000

    alas the register doesnt make me laugh nearly as often as it tries but thats a damned good headline

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