Comets are not the easiest thing to find, much less                           picture.

They call this 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

For more use the DOOR…




   We’ll oversimplify.

   Think of the Earth going around the Sun in a circular orbit–pretty regular. Now think of another much, much, much smaller glob of “stuff” (“a rough “ball” maybe 3 miles in diameter) whirling around the Sun, coming sort of close to Earth but then speeding away in an egg-shaped oval orbit, going farther and farther away from Earth even past the orbit of Mars. Eventually that comet will come around close to Earth’s orbit as before.

   Now picture the European Space Agency (ESA) sending up a spacecraft to “chase” that comet, which it did. It’s called “Rosetta” and it set off after the comet in March, 2004. Ten years later (in August 2014) it caught up with the comet and “dropped a lander” on the surface of the comet in November 2014. Now Rosetta has detected the presence of the element nitrogen on the comet, and sent a message about that back to Earth. (This was reported in the New York Times  on Mar. 21, 2015.) Scientists say that this provides evidence that the comet probably formed at very low temperatures in the outer regions of the solar system.

   People thought up a way to that, wait around for 10 years, and fetch back a report.

   Pretty amazing, I’d say…