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Comet Wild 2

Dr. Neville Thomas Jones, Ph.D.

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:

  1. What is the cause of the strange halo of light around the alleged comet?
  2. Why are there dark edges on the right, when the light source must be situated above and to the right?
  3. Why has a black and white photograph come out in colour?
  4. Why is there no blurring, when the relative speed between camera and object was supposed to be 13,650 mph?
  5. What aperture and shutter speed would one require on a conventional camera to capture something moving at 13,650 mph?
  6. Why, despite the two-dimensionality of a photo, does this thing have a distinct flatness about it?
  7. 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.