If you felt a strange disturbance in the Force while you were sat at your desk yesterday, it wasn’t due to a distant planet being blown up, or a young Jedi going over to the Dark Side. It was because, finally, FINALLY, the OSIRIS team released one of their images. No, really, they did! Some time yesterday morning, flaming torches held high, they went down into the caverns constructed beneath their HQ, hauled open the twenty foot thick vault door which protects their precious horde of images from the attention of the world, and carefully selected one to share with us. Here’s an exclusive pic of the inside of the OSIRIS vault…
And what was the picture they chose to finally share with us? Was it a jaw-dropping portrait of one of the vents in the neck of the comet, spewing out gas and dust? Was it a close up of one of the layered rock formations which loom over the landscape like a fortress in Mordor?? Was it a stunning portrait of one of the comet’s craters, with crumbling walls and screes of debris????
No. It was this…
Yes, that’s right. Out of all the images they have available, they released to the waiting world a picture of a single boulder.
And that boulder wasn’t even in the middle of the frame; it was tucked away in one corner of the image, with the rest of the frame showing just the comet’s flat bare, dusty surface.
Unbelievable. They must think we came over on the last banana boat.
Where is this rock? Here, I’ll show you…
Many other people are celebrating this, and saying thank you, but at the risk of sounding ungrateful and churlish and maybe even a little paranoid, I’m not going to join in with the party. That is a pathetic offering, considering what they have available, and I actually think it’s a deliberate snub to all the people requesting images, especially when you take into account that it’s actually a crop of an image, not even a single whole image.
If you zoom in on the boulder – which has been christened “Cheops” by the OSIRIS team – and do a bit of enhancing work on it, there are intriguing hints of detail…
Cheops is clearly very knobbly and rugged, and there appear to be a couple of hollows on the top in which dark surface material has gathered, but that’s about all we can see on that image.But it raises so many questions! Where did that boulder come from? Did it drop out of the sky after being blown off another area of the comet, miles away? Did it fall here from a cliff? Was it originally *under* the surface, and has been exposed as the material above and around it eroded away? And what are those bits embedded in it? SO many questions!
What is actually known about Cheops? Here’s the info from the press release:
This image of the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 19 September 2014, from a distance of 28.5 km.
The image features a large boulder casting a long shadow on the surface of the comet. The boulder has a maximum dimension of about 45 metres and is the largest structure within a group of boulders located on the lower side of the comet’s larger lobe. This cluster of boulders reminded scientists of the famous pyramids at Giza near Cairo in Egypt, and thus it has been named Cheops for the largest of those pyramids, the Great Pyramid, which was built as a tomb for the pharaoh Cheops (also known as Kheops or Khufu) around 2550 BC.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
If others want to be grateful for this image, and celebrate its grudging release from the OSIRIS dungeon, they can. I’m not going to. And if you think that’s unfair, and ungrateful, well, come on, think about it… With hundreds of breathtaking images to choose from, showing a bewildering and giddying variety of features and structures, the OSIRIS team cropped one of their images to give us something that is mostly empty and blank, with a single rock banished to one corner. Basically, they gave us the most boring, most empty image they could, which cruelly hints at the magnificent detail other images must show.
This is a crumb tossed grudgingly from the top table, make no mistake about that. This is the people – or person – directly in charge of releasing their images to the public sticking two fingers up AT the public by putting out something that’s not really much better than a crop of a navcam image. It’s shameful.
And if no-one else has realised that, well, sorry, but I have.
If you’re reading this, nice try, OSIRIS, yes, very clever. Now stop laughing at us and show us a real image – something that’s worthy of you, your amazing cameras, and all the people supporting the mission.
Filed under: Uncategorized |