Huge chunks of rocks break off and jump on the comet, like tennis balls
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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko showed another surprise astronomers
On the latest images from the Rosetta probe investigating comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, astronomers have discovered an unusual Bouncing stones. Huge pieces of rock break off and jump on the comet’s surface, reports the European space Agency (ESA).
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The comet has very low gravity, which is weaker than 10 thousand times from the Ground. This leads to the fact that the dust and stones from its surface regularly thrown into space, but some objects remain on its surface, making a huge “jumps”.
Bouncing the stone, leaving marks on the surface
One of these objects — a piece of rock weighing about 230 tons fell from a height of about 50 meters, and then “rode” a few tens of meters on the surface of the comet like a tennis ball.
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The study of such movements stones in different parts of a comet helps to determine mechanical properties such as falling material, and the surface on which it lands. The material from which the comet is generally less dense than ordinary ice and stones with which we are familiar on Earth: boulders on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is about 100 times weaker than the earth’s loose snow.
The behavior of boulders on the comet
In some places around the comet was observed other changes: the collapse of the Aswan rocks with a width of 70 m was observed in July 2015. Rami El-Maarri and Graham Driver, University of London, found an even larger drop, which even caused a bright flash, observed on 12 September 2015 along the border between the North and southern hemisphere of the comet.
Recall that the Rosetta spacecraft probe Philae examined the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. Landing Philae became the first ever successful landing of a man-made device on the surface of the comet.
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