All About Space
What's so fascinating about rosetta's comet?
it is a fantastically diverse object. it had this very significant bilobed nature not uncommon in comets, but it really was striking with this duck shape. With regards to the surface features and the material we found, it kind of has all the bits of all the comets we’ve ever observed, and they were all in one comet that we were able to study.
the reason we study them? Because we look at them as treasure chests of what the Solar System was like at its beginning. in fact, some of the stuff we were looking at with rosetta, for instance the oxygen molecules we discovered on the comet, that was a surprise to us. Because it’s there, it constrains how we believe the comet actually formed, so it actually says something about the protostellar cloud. it could be that there is material in that comet that predates the formation of the Sun. So just from studying this funny, duck-shaped object, to me it’s mind-blowing that you can make that connection to the entire Solar System’s formation. that’s why.
Matt Taylor is the project scientist of ESA’s Rosetta mission