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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Comet Revealed as a Giant Dog Bone
4 November 2010 12:40 pm
At about 10 a.m. this morning, the EPOXI spacecraft screamed by the icy nucleus of comet Hartley 2 at 43,000 kilometers per hour. The fifth comet ever imaged so close up, Hartley 2 looks a bit like a dog bone, or a dumbbell, or, more technically, a highly elongated triaxial thingy. The shape of the comet, which is only about a kilometer in size, is reminiscent of Comet Borrelly, first sighted by the Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2001, only more so. Presumably, Hartley 2 was once two separate bodies that came together. Or, it could have always been a solitary, barely compacted collection of rubble that came close to splitting in two when it spun too fast. Today, the sun's warmth is driving off water vapor, other gases, and dust—especially in bright jets seen streaming off the far end—that have been locked up in the comet since the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. This afternoon, team scientists will release processed images and perhaps make some sense of the rough ends and smooth neck between, something never seen before.
See more ScienceShots.