If you weren't already having nightmares about the "Halloween asteroid" taking a detour and crashing into New York City, well, this space rock just got a little spookier. First off, Spooky isn't an asteroid; according to NASA, it's a dead comet. Worse! It looks like a haunted human skull.
That's according to the latest optical and radar images of the object generated by NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. According to NASA, Spooky has a high enough reflectivity to be a comet, but lacks the telltale cloud of gas and dust -- called a coma -- that indicates an active surface.
Its likeness to a human face remains a scientific mystery!
"The IRTF data may indicate that the object might be a dead comet, but in the Arecibo images it appears to have donned a skull costume for its Halloween flyby," said Kelly Fast, IRTF program scientist at NASA.
It seems there are only two explanations: One, this space rock was deployed by an advanced alien civilisation that's been monitoring the us from afar and studying our culture. And they decided to pull a good 'ol fashioned interplanetary prank on a day they knew would freak us out. Possibly (probably) with a little help from our Reptilian-controlled government.
Two, the PR engine at NASA recognised an opportunity to add some Entertainment Value to an innocuous astronomical event that would have otherwise gone unnoticed by the citizens of Earth. Remember, humans will see faces and other familiar objects in just about everything -- our brains are hardwired to do so. But even if this is just an elaborate publicity stunt, I appreciate the effort. Not every Halloween comes laced with the possibility of apocalyptic destruction at the hands of a vindictive bolide.