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Comet probe makes surprise find

Scientists say a space probe aiming to become the first to land on a comet has taken images that appear to show its target could be two separate lumps of rock and ice flying in tandem.

The pictures released in Berlin were taken by the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe, which is nearing the final stage of its decade-long mission to rendezvous with and drop a lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The landing is planned for November.

Mission scientist Matt Taylor said the images shot from several thousand miles away show 67P is shaped like "a strange-looking potato".

He says this could mean the comet is a so-called contact binary composed of two distinct parts, or that it is one unit deformed by its passage past Jupiter or the sun.

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From Belfast Telegraph