The Rosetta Mission which is about studying the Comet 67P has provided us with far more information than we had anticipated.
For instance, researchers while looking for the information about the life of the comet like where it came from, how far it has journeyed, what specimens or space materials it has collected – A new theory suggests that the rubber-duck shaped space rock might be made of two separate entities that have collided and fused in the earliest stages of our solar system.
Dr Ekkehard Kührt from the German Aerospace Center and the co-author of the study said, “It is most likely that two comets collided in the early Solar System, forming the double body that we see today.”
The European Space Agency has been analyzing the shape of the Comet 67p/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the very beginning of the Rosetta mission when it first sent the images of the comet in June, 2014. Researchers have wondered about the odd shape of the comet since they first saw the image sent by the spacecraft.
“In order to explain the measured low density and well-preserved layer structures of both the comet’s lobes, the collision must have been gentle and occurred at low speed. This finding provides important information on the physical condition of the early Solar System 4.5 billion years ago,” explains the study author.
“Since we resolved the comet, the question of whether it was two objects that joined together or one comet that has been eaten away has been dangling. Now we have answered it — it’s a contact binary,” said Matt Taylor, project scientist of the Rosetta mission at European Space Agency.
He further goes on to say that “There could have been some processes of cementation during the collision itself and in the following evolution of the comet.”
They findings of the study are published in the journal Nature.