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back to article 'Puzzling structures on surface' of YU55 spaceball

NASA boffins have released a short video clip of the huge dead-black spaceball YU55, roughly the size of a nuclear aircraft carrier, which barrelled past Earth inside the Moon's orbit last night. They say it shows "puzzling structures" on the surface of the mysterious cosmic spheroid. As YU55 is blacker than charcoal to human …

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Meh

I for one...

...can only see big pixels.

How clever of the builders to make the surface look like an early eighties computer animation when viewed by radar.

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Happy

They're using 8 bit technology, renewing my faith that unix can be used to overcome any alien technology - after all, AT&T derived it from code recovered from the crash at Roswell.

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TRT
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Alien

Buildings, you say?

They look suspiciously like gun turrets to me.

Let's see if I can pick up any transmissions... oh yes.

"...Land...," "...safe distance...", "...monitor it, and..."

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Mushroom

and..............................

Fire......

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Anonymous Coward

Puzzling structures indeed

They wouldn't be Golden arches would they?

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Yes, sandwiched in between severl Starbucks...

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Mushroom

MeteorBlitzkreig!!!!!!

Flee! The Space Nazis are coming!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHRyGGrTfxY&

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Paris Hilton

over simplifying

Too bad they couldn't have dropped a mars-rover type device on it as it passed by. I'm sure there are some horrendous difficulties, not the least the very low gravity, but a great chance to hitchhike around a bit, maybe look at its makeup, and see another part of the solar system.

Paris? The free ride obviously.

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Anonymous Coward

Lack of basic understanding of Newtonian dynamics

How do you "drop" a device on something that is hurtling past at more than 10 km/s? Presumably you have to accelerate your device to roughly the same speed. If you can do that, your device is then perfectly capable of following a trajectory similar to that of YU55 all on its own, so what's the advantage of travelling with YU55? In other words, what do you mean by "hitchhike"? And why don't they teach basic physics in schools any more?

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Well, you could intercept.

I'd suggest calling the probe "Plecia nearctica" for all the members of that species that I have to scrape off my car's windshield every spring. Granted, it might not be in terribly useful condition after the impact.

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Mushroom

> How do you "drop" a device on something that is hurtling past at more than 10 km/s?

NERVAs that's how.

Where are they? What are my taxes GOOD FOR?

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@AC

Actually I don't think its that bad of an idea. Because if you'd wish to track it you'd need even more precise calculations in order to match its precise orbit. And only when a space agency would find out that they're off (because the "meteor rover" starts to follow a different trajectory than YU55) it would be too late to try and correct it.

Another advantage of using the asteroid itself is its already proven lifespan. Doesn't have to mean much, but at least you can be sure it won't easily crash into something.

As where speed is concerned; even the Apollo project (Apollo 10) once managed to gain a speed of 10.08 km/s. Granted; this was the highest speed attained by any manned spacecraft, but take away the manned part and you'll end up with a much lighter object anyway, thus one which would be easier to get "up to speed" so to say.

Not saying that the suggestion is the best out there, but IMO its also not as impossible as you make it seem.

Also note that they have been able to approach Halley's comet. Its not fully comparable, and only at a distance of approx. 300km in a fly by, but still...

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Alien

@ShelLuser 16:31

According to Wikipedia the escape velocity from LEO is ~10.9 Km/s, so wouldn't must of the manned moon missions* have acheived velocities at least in that range?

*) I know they were faked of course.

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Happy

Makes perfect sense

I believe the suggestion was very valid and lucid.

You are correct that by "drop" you would need to rendezvous with the object at a similar speed.

The benefit of "hitchhiking" is getting a free ride. Its an easier task to make a sensor array and recording device that could be fired from a launching device at close to 10 km/s for a survivable impact with the object. Your device doesn't need to steer, or track and follow the object, it just hops on board. further it doesn't have to quite reach the same speed, or maintain it (granted it not dealing with wind drag to slow it down, but being on the surface of this larger object might give it some protection) Then it could go traveling through the near universe on a course that is apparently (since its still flying around) free from obstructions. If it were able to securely anchor itself (or even tunnel down) it would be better protected, and much less likely to be knocked off course by impact with some very tiny bit of space debris. Not to mention if the device could have a mobile exploratory unit it could travel around the object and investigate it further.

Perhaps under that coat of coal there YU55 is made of pure Gold! Or maybe the last image we would see is a tentacle smacking our camera non-operational....

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Not so fast...

@Sheluser: "According to Wikipedia the escape velocity from LEO is ~10.9 Km/s, so wouldn't must of the manned moon missions* have acheived velocities at least in that range?"

First, that 10.9km/s escape velocity applies from the *altitude* of LEO, not an object *orbiting at* LEO, which is already moving around 7.8km/s angular velocity or typically around 7.33km/s relative to the Earth's surface if flown southeastward from Florida, which is rotating at around 420(?)m/s about a different axis.

Anyway, you don't want to hit escape velocity unless you want to escape and never get back! Better to stay in elliptical orbit wrt Earth, do some brief orbits of the moon (assuming you meant moon missions) then mosey on home, wot.

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Add a bomb too

So if it comes too close in years to come it could be easily be deflected/destroyed.

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Alien

RAMA!

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In that case it's OK that we missed it

Ramans do everything in threes :)

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Paris Hilton

No it's not, it didn't refuel by sucking up the sun

Paris, who also has a novel method of refuelling

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6 frames?

and that's a movie? not sure I can finish my popcorn in that time...

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and repeated 5 times to take up more bandwidth

how much bandwidth does stupidity require?

I just hope adobes html5 moves can include slow backwards and forwards buttons that use local memory - or has apple patented them?

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Coat

Maybe there's two more coming along soon..

Mine's the one with the AC Clarke novel in the pocket :)

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Alien

Fermi

this is a rock on a known orbit.. it ain't anything else. as for structures.. they must be smaller that the 4m resolution could pick up i guess..

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How very odd

The telescope appears to have picked up an advert for a Reebok video and a bright yellow square.

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From here it looks like 'fixed price repair centre'

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Alert

That's no asteroid!*

It's a space station!

*Yeah, moon, I know, but that was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

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Anonymous Coward

i think you will find...

it is in fact, dark matter :P

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G2
Joke

my opinion: it looks like a hairy spinning ball :p

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Not a spinning hairy ball, then?

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Coat

So how fast is it going? Anything near ludicrous speed?

Mine is the one with "Spaceballs the Toilet Roll" in the pocket.

Rob

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Alien

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

nuff said.

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Childcatcher

You Wot?

Any Welsh people around here who could decipher the gibberish please?

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I wasn't aware the Welsh were fluent with the Water Beings. Explains the weather though.

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Boffin

Dothing cap to Wikipeadia...

Proper noun

"ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"

A fictional occult phrase from H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, said to mean "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming".

Usage notes

While this phrase appears in English fiction, it is intended to represent an ancient (fictitious) language as conceived by H. P. Lovecraft.

There is no formal pronunciation for this phrase: Lovecraft left it up to interpretation.

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Ru
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Facepalm

"Dothing [sic] cap to Wikipeadia [sic]"

Don't explain the joke.

The followup may, just possibly, have been humourous in intent, too.

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Joke

@Fred

Too many vowels for it to be Welsh.

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Alien

No-one would have believed...

No-one would have believed, in the early years of the twenty first century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinised as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even concidered the possability of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immesurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly but surely, they drew their plans against us.

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Trollface

If you're about to impersonate David Essex you can quit it right now.

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@No-one would have believed...

10 / 10 for remembering the passage

2 / 10 for spelling

Still at least it proves you didn't just copy-and-paste...

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Dun dun duuuuhhhhhh dun dun duuuuuhhhh

Dun dun duuuuhhhhhh dun dun duuuuuhhhh

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Thumb Up

You left out the

DaDa Dah Dah Da Dahhh

DaDa Dah Dah Da Dahhh

weeeeouuuuuu

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titular musings

Ulla!

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Get It Right!

Every one know that the Nazis fled the Earth in anti-gravity powered flying saucers not rocketships.

Doesn't anyone car about factual reporting anymore!

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Anonymous Coward

HD

We live in a world of HD, even my phone will do it - why on Earth did NASA use such shite cameras to film it?

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FAIL

And your phone has a zoom capable of photographing a moving, black rock from 860,000 miles away? Right.

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Your phone can get HD pictures of objects 300000km away? Objects that are black on a black background? Amazing!

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Pint

Close-ups

No, but Chuck Norris could have thrown the phone into a trajectory that intersected YU55's, and caught it on the way back.

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Alien

AH, A CLUE

If they have buttons which are labelled black on a black background which when pressed let a little black light up black to show that you have done it, it must be the HAGUNEMNONS!

Look out for horribly beweaponed, chameleoid death-flotillas!!

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Joke

Boomarang phone?

Nah, he would have done a flying kick into the sky...

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Re: black on a black background

Can't you just select it with the mouse and one of the blacks gets inverted to white? Or am I thinking of government-grade document redaction?

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