Wild 2? Close inspection of images taken of Comet Wild 2 by the passing Stardust spacecraft in January show numerous strange pinnacles as long as 100 meters long jutting off the surface. The pinnacles were unexpected - close-ups of other comets and asteroids show no such features. In fact, no other Solar System object besides Earth is known to show such unusual structures. Other unusual Wild 2 surface features including long cliffs, deep pits and craters, and numerous active jets. Together with the spires, these features are hypothesized to be indicative of a very rigid surface sculpted by impacts and explosive sublimation. Initially, Wild 2 was expected by many to be held together only quite loosely. Stardust is scheduled to fly by the Earth in 2006 and drop off a sample of Wild 2 for detailed scrutiny.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: comet - Comet Wild 2
Publications with words: comet - Comet Wild 2