In January 2004, newspapers in Britain carried enthusiastic reports of a close fly-by of the claimed NASA probe, 'Starburst', to the comet, 'Wild 2'. Some also featured the picture shown in Fig. 1, below.
Figure 1: A NASA photograph purporting to be of the comet, Wild 2.
According to Flight International (12.01.2004) :
"NASA's Stardust spacecraft made a close fly-by of the comet Wild 2 on 2 January, transmitting clear images of the crater-pitted nucleus, looking like an asteroid, from a closest distance of 240km (150 miles)."
And from the British Daily Mail,
"Nasa said its Stardust spacecraft passed within an estimated 143 miles of the comet Wild 2 as it ploughed through the gossamer cloud that cloaks the dirty ball of ice and rock.
"Mission members said the unmanned probe made its closest approach travelling at a relative speed of 13,650mph.
"The unmanned spacecraft also was due to snap 72 black-and-white close-ups of the comet's nucleus, thought to be just 3.3 miles across."
While the British Independent stated that,
"... the Starburst photographs - published in the journal Science - depict a mini world scarred by a series of collisions with other space objects over many millions of years."
Now, anyone who has done a little serious photography will no doubt be pondering a few things about this photograph:
- What is the cause of the strange halo of light around the alleged comet?
- Why are there dark edges on the right, when the light source must be situated above and to the right?
- Why has a black and white photograph come out in colour?
- Why is there no blurring, when the relative speed between camera and object was supposed to be 13,650 mph?
- What aperture and shutter speed would one require on a conventional camera to capture something moving at 13,650 mph?
- Why, despite the two-dimensionality of a photo, does this thing have a distinct flatness about it?
- Why does this thing look actually like a blob of solder, flicked from the tip of a soldering iron onto a piece of back-lit paper or cloth?
Answers on a postcard please to: NASA Squillion-Dollar Con Artistes, c/o Genocidal psychopath G.W. Bush, Washington D.C., United States.