back to article Comet 67-P farted just as Rosetta probe flew through the gas plume

On July 3rd, 2016 something unusual happened on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko: a fountain of dust erupted out of a hole and spewed all sorts of stuff into space. As luck would have it, Earth's Rosetta probe had five instruments trained on the fountain as it started to blow. Better yet, the probe flew through the plume of …

  1. PNGuinn
    Boffin

    2 theories

    1. Clangers

    2. Soup dragon's pot boiled over

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: 2 theories

      3. (most likely): Aliens in hibernation in the interior of the comet, farting in their sleep.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: 2 theories

        Farting aliens...

        Probably Slitheen then.

  2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Theories

    "Evaporation of ice alone can't explain the energy required to shoot lots of dust up into space, leaving astroboffins wondering what lurked beneath the surface of 67P that could power a plume."

    I am waiting for the barrage of 'Someone or thing that didn't want us there!!!'

    (but using a lot more Caps)

    1. VinceH Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Theories

      Yeah, it was clearly an attempt to push the probe off course - but all they managed to do was cause it to fluff its landing.

      (Sorry... forgot to use caps - damn!)

      1. Matt 21

        Re: Theories

        Should it start with "THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US EARTHMEN. OUR RETALIATION WILL BE SLOW, BUT NONETHELESS EFFECTIVE. IT WILL MEAN THE ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION OF LIFE ON EARTH. IT WILL BE USELESS FOR YOU TO RESIST, FOR WE HAVE DISCOVERED THE SECRET OF REVERSING MATTER, AS YOU HAVE JUST WITNESSED. ONE OF YOU WILL BE UNDER OUR CONTROL. YOU BE INSTRUMENTAL IN AVENGING THE MYSTERONS. OUR FIRST ACT OF RETALIATION WILL BE TO ASSASSINATE YOUR WORLD PRESIDENT. "

        1. dbayly
          Thumb Down

          Re: Theories

          Can we nominate presidents for assassination ?

          1. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: Theories

            Sshhh! the Spanish government might be watching. Don't give them ideas.

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    I think the cost of the rights to Michael Flynn's books just went up a notch.

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    So now we have to go back, and to other comets. Don't we?

    Of course we do, but bring a thermos of hot tea, it's cold up there

    Seriously though, marvellous boffinry!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: So now we have to go back, and to other comets. Don't we?

      No, we don't have to go back, that was reaction mass being ejected from one of the steering jets. They are coming back, since being woken up by a primitive spy drone crashing into the outer hull camouflage, they have had time to study us and are coming back to destroy our governments. That will leave us leaderless as a punishment for disturbing their hibernation.

      1. John Mangan

        Re: So now we have to go back, and to other comets. Don't we?

        "That will leave us leaderless as a punishment for disturbing their hibernation."

        I don't think 'punishment' means what you think it does.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: So now we have to go back, and to other comets. Don't we?

          "That will leave us leaderless as a punishment for disturbing their hibernation."

          Given the current situation, I don't see a downside here to being "leaderless".

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: So now we have to go back, and to other comets. Don't we?

        That will leave us leaderless as a reward for disturbing their hibernation.

        FTFY - Philanthropic Old Ones.

  5. Alexander Hanff 1

    Scientists are stupid

    It is bloody obvious that it was caused by a giant subterranean worm similar to those in the non-fiction epic, Dune.... seriously scientists, sort your shit out.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Scientists are stupid

      Don't be a fool! Of course they know this! But they want to keep all the Spice to themselves and not share. So they can live longer and see the future, and the rest of us can't!

      Isn't this obvious to everyone? The fact that Philae landed perfectly and gave them pictures, then they pretended there'd been a malfunction and censored everything - Then immediately after the ESA GPS satellites that mysteriously didn't work, because they're actually probes to secretly go off and collect samples. All we need to do is look out for the ESA scientists with glowing blue eyes, and we'll have proof.

      1. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Megaphone

        Re: Scientists are stupid

        "Don't be a fool! Of course they know this! But they want to keep all the Spice to themselves and not share. So they can live longer and see the future, and the rest of us can't!"

        Utterly unacceptable! The Spice must flow!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Scientists are stupid

      "It is bloody obvious that it was caused by a giant subterranean worm similar to those in the non-fiction epic, Dune.... seriously scientists, sort your shit out."

      Nah, the Arrakis Sandworms were actually quite delicate, needing very specific conditions to live, survive and thrive in. Now, that one living in the asteroid Han Solo tried to hide the Millennium Falcon in...

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: "the Arrakis Sandworms were actually quite delicate"

        No they weren't. Drop a sandworm in water, watch it shatter into sandtrout. In relatively short order they would sequester all your planet's water beneath the surface and convert the planet into a desert filled with sandworms.

        Do not fuck with Shai Hulud. He will your entire planet.

  6. Solarflare

    "The paper says the plume originated from a a 10 m-high wall around a circular dip in the surface and continued for between 14 and 68 minutes. The event saw between 6,500 and 118,000kg of material ejected."

    Those seem like pretty huge error bounds. That's akin to saying "I had the bath on for between 5 and 25 minutes. Also, the temperature was somewhere between 10 and 180 degrees...so maybe you shouldn't dip your toe in there just in case".

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I assume this is because the probe was in orbit, and only got to see the plume when on the right side of the comet. So they'll have data from when it was overhead and didn't see anything and data from when it did, and that gives the time limits of the event, but obviously not very precisely.

    2. Vulch

      Has the feeling of something that wasn't there in one image, was for the next two and had gone again by the time the fourth image was taken. All they know is the event started after the first and before the second, and finished after the third but before the fourth.

  7. Seajay#

    Hull Breach

    Breach on starship 67-P!

    Quick boffins, don't just stand there sampling the dust to water ice ratio send help.

  8. Des

    Affront

    Perhaps it's a secret base disguised as a comet with a load of sleeping warships hidden in hangars under the surface?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Affront

      If the Affront are invading Earth, I for one am turning traitor.

      Partly because we're inevitably going to lose, so I may as well be on the winning side and live. But mostly because since reading that book I've really wanted to eat dinner with knife, fork and harpoon.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Affront

        I'm not familiar with that account... but there's a burning question... Do they have babes!!???? In mini-dresses ala Star Trek? Enquiring minds and all that but for purely scientific investigation purposes, of course.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Affront

          So long as it's not Quagaars then everything should be ok.

          That said you can learn alot from a garbage pod...

          Mine's the one with the bra owned by a woman with six breasts.b

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cant believe current establishment has not changed their description and still call comets "dirty snowballs" coming from the hypothetical Oort cloud...

    Did they find their ice? NO. They found it is made out of rocks and it is extremely electrostaticaly charged if I remember correctly.

    Some suggested that as soon as the probe gets close enough by there will be a measurable electrical fields which turned out to be correct. This type of fields eject the fine dust outwards and look like eruptions.

    What bugs me the most is that NASA admitted their assumptions are way off and that they need to go back to the drawing board however here we are pushing the old theory again.

    I always assumed theories should change / evolve but I guess that drawing board was covered in super-permanent marker...

    Electric universe has some interesting ideas in case you are interested. I am not into this type of science but their explanation kinda matches what was recorded.

    1. mrbeardy

      What a steaming pile of Hotspur.

      Thornhill is an idiot and was proved wrong on every count at 67p.

      Your post states pretty much the exact opposite of what was discovered at 67p.

      Not into science at all?? Kinda matches fantasy, not reality as observed.

      1. Geriant

        "Not into science at all." -- not what was said.

        "Thornhill is an idiot and was proved wrong on every count at 67p." -- Yep! 97% of cosmologists would agree with you there.

  10. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Elderberries

    So, the comet farted in the general direction of Rosetta? Were there any comments passed about Rosetta's lineage?

    1. CentralCoasty
      Happy

      Re: Elderberries

      .... along with accompanying nose-thumbing and gesticulations?

  11. Neoc
    Coat

    "So now we have to go back, and to other comets"

    Of course we can, we just have to comet to it.

    Mine's the one with the snowballs in the pockets.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Flame

    SBD

    Silent but deadly

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