Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hartley 2 Comet as Rock Star

He came down from heaven, this shining projectile, the Hartley 2 comet.

Comet or UFO? A space ship passing by? Scientists are already talking about its structure seeming to be two objects "fused together". Will we ever be able to interview the engineers who performed this feat?

If we assume Hartley 2 is moving from right to left in the photo above, those light emissions in the tail end of the craft would be the propulsive apparatus jettisoning some super-advanced form of exhaust and ballistic force vectors, to propel the rocket and its crew along their way.

The side lights on the craft are the ship's high-velocity spectrum blasters, keeping it in an elliptical orbit, rather than shooting forward in a straight line, off into outer space, escaping the Milky Way and trespassing on forbidden territory, arousing furious gyrations and angry apogees of protest by assorted intra-galactic objects and high-ranking foreign (non-Milky Way) star assemblages.

Whatever it was, it was a rock star.

Everyone saw its picture in the paper and on the screens. Never before has a comet been so candid and transparent. Hartley 2 stole our hearts and breezed on by without bidding us a farewell or a see you later.

But it kissed our camera with an image that shocks and satisfies, educates and mystifies. If only we could hitch a ride.

Watch the Hartley 2 short film. (.MOV file)

Here is a success to emulate, a mighty being, a self-contained robust module, on a joy ride around the galaxy, without a care in the world.

The turkey leg missle. Hartley 2. We miss you already. You rode into town, then vanished off into the distance again. What do you see out there? What stories could you tell?

This year's return of comet Hartley 2 is freaked out awesomeness.

The comet can't be stopped.

We were unable to capture it for nomadic analysis, as it rips through our plasma nets like they were cotton candy.

The doggone thing has made its perihelion passage on October 28th, 2010, having passed at a distance of 18 million kilometres from the Earth on October 20th. This has been badass Hartley2's  nearest approach to the Earth since its discovery in 1986 and by far its closest approach in the next century.

Comet Hartley 2 flew by us, laughing at our sophisticated instruments and education, at 16.4 million kilometers from Herschel on October 20th, providing a chance to thumb our noses at him and impudently gather a bunch of rather, um,  sensitive measurements, which were gentlemanly, for example they were very considerate and graciously complementary to the observations from EPOXI and other secret space spying facilities.

Rumors that Hartley 2 is not a comet, but rather obviously a spaceship from another, more advanced and artistic civilization, have gone uncontested, as scientists scramble to absorb the new information and hold conferences about it so as to more effectively spin out the academically correct version of the themes contained within the collected data.

PHOTO ABOVE: Comet Hartley 2 as seen by Herschel/PACS. This processed image was taken with PACS on October 25th, 2010, in its "blue" channel (70 micrometer), ten days before the EPOXI's Encounter phase, with a distance between Herschel and comet Hartley 2 of 17.5 million km. The Sun symbol and arrow indicate the projected direction towards the Sun.

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