back to article 'MYSTERIOUS PYRAMID STRUCTURE' found on COMET beyond Mars: Landing planned

Exciting news from outer space today, as it has emerged that a "mysterious" pyramid-like "structure" has been discovered on the surface of a comet plunging towards the inner solar system from beyond the orbit of Mars. Necropolis-esque comet structure The comet in question is 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the discovery has …

  1. Omgwtfbbqtime

    Pyramid like?

    It looks like a Ferrero Rocher to me.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Pyramid like?

      Oi that's my stash of Ferrero Rocher, now Captain Black will likely be on his way to steal it!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Pyramid like?

        When the hapless space probe approaches, a GALACTIC ROCHER addy will unfold in space, to the amazement of billions.

        FIRST CONTACT - By Marketeering!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pyramid like?

          Hey, I am your first contact with Marketeering!! (Not to be confused with Mouseketeering)

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: Ferrero Rocher

      Bet the ambassador wouldn't want one of those gatecrashing his reception and spoiling it for everyone.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Pyramid like?

      Ditch the Ferero, it looks like a rock to me.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Pyramid like?

        Yes! and the shadow only appears to look like a pyramid. Just like the face on Mars, shadows and a familiar shape in the landscape, from a certain angle, with the sun in the right position...

        I should stop now.

        Time for the next pint

      2. ItsNotMe

        Re: Pyramid like?

        Ditch the Ferero, it looks like a rock to me.

        Yep...and a BFR if I ever saw one. Beer-thirty time now. Cheers!

    4. Cipher

      Re: Pyramid like?

      Thus Spoke Zarathustra...

  2. Martin Maloney


    "...the icy, snowball-like 67P..."

    They just won't let go of the failed "dirty snowball" comet model, will they?

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Pity it is not a 'monolith'

    I'm sorry, I can't allow you to land... Zap

    Mines the one with a copy of the Sentinel in the pocket.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A large rock that hit the comet

    and is stranded by gravity. Solved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A large rock that hit the comet

      No treasure map?

  5. Andrew Newstead

    Something more intertesting

    The rock (and that's what it is) looks interesting but I'm more intrigued by the smoothness of the rest of the terrain around it. Whole areas of the comet have this smooth melted look, quite unlike any other body we have seen in space so far.

    Is it a form of erosion? Dust drifts? Melting?

    Can't wait to see what it's like really close up.

    1. Steve Crook

      Re: Something more intertesting

      I'm sure if we look harder we'll be able to see the tongue marks. That rock is probably a chocolate chip.

  6. Nigel 11

    A large rock that hit the comet - not.

    Would have to impact at an extremely small delta-V to leave not so much as a dent. Usual random interplanetary velocities vaporise the impactor and leave a crater.

    Applying Occam's razor, the "rock" must have formed on the comet, or in (very slow, low-G) orbit around it.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: A large rock that hit the comet - not.

      Accretion didn't have to end 4.5 billion years ago. Stray rocks in a similar orbit could come in at low V enough to spiral in.

  7. TonyJ Silver badge

    Can someone tell me...

    ...why there are never colour photos sent back? I mean, I know NASA et al can colour them in afterwards in many cases but I was just curious if there's a technical reason they always seem to be monochrome?

    Or is that the actual colour of the thing?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Can someone tell me...

      It's a bloody long way to Snappy Snaps...

    2. Mike Bell

      Re: Can someone tell me...

      The camera can sense a wider range of colours than your eye can. But this is a science mission. The camera has a variety of filters that can be used to detect specific wavelength ranges. For example, one filter with a 35nm bandwidth is specifically employed to detect iron-bearing minerals.

      Space missions often take a series of images using colour filters that can be combined to give a good idea of how things might look to the human eye, but the science imaging always takes top priority.

      For this particular object, from what I've heard, it's 'true' image, as you might perceive it, would be something rather like viewing a piece of coal.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Can someone tell me...

      Many reasons. Colour requires 3 discrete channels/measurements per pixel, which reduces the resolution of your sensor compared to simply measuring amplitude as you need to pack 3 sensors per pixel instead of one. It also increases the bandwidth required to transmit the image, since you have to send three times as much data back to earth.

      Secondly, it's quite dark in space, Rosetta does not carry a massive flash bulb array with which to illuminate 67P, and to get good colour reproduction in your sensors requires incident light of the right colours.

      Finally, this instrument, OSIRIS, stands for Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System, so I suspect that the "image" we see is not purely an optical capture from the camera but a computer assisted rendering from several sensor sources, of which only the optical could possibly be in colour. The last one is wild speculation on my part, I don't know enough about OSIRIS.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Can someone tell me...

        Thanks Tom & Mike. Nicely explained.

        Have an upvote on me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm not an expert mind you, but this is just my take on the matter. And I think there are several reasons..

      Less data. In the end all the data still needs to be transmitted back to Earth. When talking bitmaps (each pixel of the image also contains a colour value) you also have to take colour depth into consideration. So basically; how much information is stored with the pixel (which makes up the image) to indicate the colour.

      From the top of my head you got black and white (which is obviously 1 bit; either black or white) and then comes the grayscale image which is usually 8bit (colour value of 0 - 255). The next step is adding colour, but that requires extra data. For example, if we're talking about common RGB (Red, Green, Blue) then all three colour values also need to be stored. So now the requirement would be three times the capacity of the grayscale; each colour would now require its own 8bit value.

      So now we'd be looking into a 24bit value which essentially requires more data.

      Another problem, but this is just my theory, is resolution. Now, this isn't much of a problem with modern camera's but in general you need to increase the light if you want to capture more information. In the old days you couldn't easily make colour images when it was dark, simply because of the lack of light.

      That problem has pretty much been solved with modern technology. But the fact remains that when you have less light you're usually better off using greyscale images if sharpness is a requirement.

      So I think that's also an argument why grayscale images are preferred here. Capturing the colour would generate extra problems, and the added value of those colours usually isn't all that much.

      1. unitron

        Re: @TonyJ and "less data"

        Considering that data are what you get when you take a datum and add another one or more of them, shouldn't that be fewer data, and not less?

    5. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Can someone tell me...

      Answer is in the article - infra-red camera! Looking at just one wavelength of the IR spectrum gives you a 'grey scale' of photon denseness/intensities, of course you could use any colour you like to represent that but b/w is traditional.

    6. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Can someone tell me...

      There's also one reason that's been overlooked in all the tech... actually seeing something. B&W is preferred for many photo targets starting with right here on earth for say, reconnaissance. Things in color often have other things hidden in them. Use B&W and the "odd" jumps out at you.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: Can someone tell me...

        Space is not particularly colourful by nature. NASA adds colour to images to represent different variables; distance, spectronomy, mass, age etc.

        NASA has a dept. dedicated to photshopping pictures and often spend months on such before they are released to the public. They even tinted early pictures of Mars red because the public *expected* them to be red. The actuality is that the sky of mars is a very similar tone to Earths skies and the ground isn't actually that red.

        Sounding like a conspiracist? Not at all. These are verifiable facts from NASA itself. Draw your own conclusions...

        1. Terje

          Re: Can someone tell me...

          When taking images with mostly any kind of scientific camera, the camera itself is monochrome. Everything you get is a gray scale image, most often with a 16bit depth. In front of that camera you then insert appropriate filters, if you want a colour picture you take three separate images using a red, green and blue filter, these are then combined during processing to give you a colour image. For most scientific endeavours a normal colour image is of very little interest and therefore the filters used are very rarely simple RGB filters so if you want to make a colour picture for public consumption you have to make do with whatever filtered images are available to you and then blend these together so as to produce something natural looking. For many occasions it's actually better to present a gray scale or false colour image to highlight details since the eye has

  8. Loyal Commenter

    Looks like

    Lumpy Space Princess

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the world is hollow

    and I have touched the sky (ST:TOS)

    just saying, could be a docking port.

  10. Ashton Black

    This is the coolest space mission, since they landed on Titan. I'm really looking forward to Nov 12th!

  11. i like crisps

    "get your ass to mars"

    from your photo it reminds me of a moody Black & white shot of some litter on Blackpool sands.

  12. Nigel 11

    There goes the neighbourhood

    Hello Zog ... yes, I'm OK, thanks. Wish I could say the same about the neighbourhood. I mean, it's not as if I'm a newcomer. I've been here four gigayears, and it's been nice and quiet all that time. But now this bloody self-propelled rock thing has appeared out of nowhere and it's somehow stuck itself going in circles around me instead of sailing on past like it ought to have done. And it's playing merry hell with my hyperspace reception ... hello? Zog? Can you hear me?

  13. Elmer Phud


    Bugger, now there will be claims from the mystic megs that it's foretold in heiroglypics and that it's Plague of Locusts time again.

    1. silent_count

      Re: Pyramid?

      Now that would be silly!

      Ever noticed how strange it is that there are pyramid structures in both Egypt and in central America? Well that's the best replica our ancestors could manage of the one pyramid that spawned us all... which just incidentally happened the last time p67 visited.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Pyramid?

        "Ever noticed how strange it is that there are pyramid structures in both Egypt and in central America? "

        And Thailand/Cambodia too.

      2. Vociferous

        Re: Pyramid?

        Serious answer: every culture early in their development invents pyramids because "a pile" is the most stable way there is to stack anything. That's also why pyramids survive where ordinary buildings dont: they're already in such a low energy state that they can't fall down.

  14. Sarev


    It looks to me like a collection of more dense matter than the rest of the surface, which has clearly 'weathered' away, perhaps due to being bombarded by solar radiation. Presumably, this blob of more dense matter was inside the structure of the comet until it gradually got exposed as the surface around it was stripped away.

    It'd make an interesting target for drilling - assuming it formed at the same time as the rest of the comet then it might be like the speck of dust that a raindrop forms around. Perhaps these dense aggregates of matter are the seeds of comets?

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Weathering

      Or ice melting and re-freezing pushed it to the surface, just as stones do in farmers fields.

  15. DropBear

    Oh, so that's where the giant stone head from Zardoz went...

  16. WalterAlter

    Icy snowball, harummmph! Comets are rocky meteors, period. They think there is water ice in their composition, the fools. What they measure is HO, the hydroxl byproduct of the breakdown of rock minerals by electric arc discharge due to the solar electric current, otherwise stupidly misnamed solar "wind". Funny how so many comet closeup pics show dumbbell shaped rock. I wonder what a magnetic field would have to do with that anomaly? Funny how they have to spend zillions of dollars to settle the issue because mainstream astronomy runs screaming, tearing at their ears, at the mention of (gasp) ELECTRICITY, out there in "empty" space. Ever look at early astonomers' drawings of comets? Does the term "jets" ring a bell? Jets of water? What, like a little water spout on a rowboat lake? Gimme a break. Jets of plasma confined in a magnetic Langmuir Sheath is what the astrohacks see dancing the St. Elmo at the end of their red and white canes.

    Go on, hit me with your best thumb down, ya rigorless faithful.

    1. MD Rackham

      I think the "head from Zardoz" theory contains more scientific rigor.

      1. WalterAlter
        Black Helicopters

        And you are probably not going to end up in a meeting with your department head concerning your continued employment, find your peer review journal papers rejected out of hand, find your research funding cut off or suffer ridicule and disparagement at the hands of your colleagues for voicing the Zardoz heresy, mainly because The Register is not a university in the brick and mortar sense.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


          ELECTRICITY out there in "empty" space?

          ENERGO PRUBLEMS solved in a single BOLD stroke.

  17. mac42

    Ummmmmm.... It's a rock. There. Next question.

  18. Ketlan


    Sorry, but how the fuck is that pyramid-shaped???

  19. Chris G Silver badge

    What! Indeed?

    5 seconds with a torch and a few objects on my desk will produce pyramid shadows from a few things, especially anything cuboid lit on the diagonal from a steep angle.

    The strangest thing about the object is as already mention the smooth surface around what appears to be a very rugged object. If ablation has been responsible for the surrounding surface, even if the thing is of a harder more durable material, one would expect it to be somewhat smoother.

    Personally I think somebody out there is having a laugh at our expense.

    Next we'll be seeing photos of a WW II bomber on the comet in some of our better tabloids.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What! Indeed?

      Druids or diamonds? We won't know until the probe lands..

    2. roger stillick

      Re: What! Indeed? try Ablation pylon...

      RE= most Sc-Fi starships have a Tungsten probe that goes beyond the warp field to exxxplore in real time the surrounding space and dissipate any electrical fields (like the spike on the top of a Tesla Coil)...

      IMHO=really old, dead starships have a spike that look like this one...and thank you NASA for the Monochrome pix - it could have been in psuedo, false color as infra-red and b/w are the 2 needed data points for a false color image to be be normalized by picture manipulating software...RS.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. What indeed?

    Wouldn't the interference from the warp field mess up molecular cohesion in the pylon?

    guess thats why its called "Ablation Pylon" .. does it get rebuilt every time?

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