Don’t Call Me Shirley

Space Geekout Time! A probe flew past a frigging comet and snapped a few pix.

Temple 1

7km x 5km of dirty ice. That’s what I call an iceberg!

The probe in question is called Stardust and it was launched 12 years ago. It had the mission to collect dust from another comet. It succeeded and with it’s mission over, it managed to visit it’s second comet now. But that new comet isn’t just any comet. Oh no. It’s Tempel 1! It is remarkable because it was visited by another probe some time ago: Deep Impact. And if Deep Impact sounds menacing it’s because that probed was sent out to kick some comet butt. It had a heavy projectile on-board that was fired at Tempel 1. You know, for science and stuff. Back then (2005) Deep Impact managed to snap a couple of shots from the resulting explosion.

Deep Impact


Now 6 years later, Stardust can provide us with some additional data on how Tempel 1 was affected by the Deep Impact experiment and how it changed in general. The changes are indeed intriguing. Comets are basically made of ice. That’s why they leave a trail behind when they get too close to the sun. They slowly evaporate and the vapor gets blown away. Tempel 1 is too far away from the sun to show anything dramatic from afar. But comparing the photos from both spacecraft, you can clearly see some changes.

Temple Comparission

The same area photographed by Deep Impact 6 years ago (above) and by Stardust recently. You can see how surface features have just evaporated away.

The surface in general is super-interesting. It is much smoother than asteroids, has much less craters and weird plateau-like structures. I would love to see a probe that explores one of the comets in detail over a longer period of time. Oh wait! That’s what actually happens in 3 years! Remeber Lutetia? The probe that snapped that picture (Rosetta) is actually on it’s way to visit a comet and stay with it for a longer period. So there are plenty of really awesome comet pix coming up in the future.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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