As the Rosetta spacecraft acquires more precise measurements of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, scientists are able to create detailed 3D models. Last week, the ESA made that data available for downloading, allowing people to make their own comet replicas—sometimes, with a few creative embellishments.
To get a sense of how much more detailed the measurements have become, compare this ESA image (below) released in July, with the one (bottom) released last week.
3D printing enthusiasts have been busy ever since:
[Image: Twitter, @Sci_ents]
[Image: Twitter, @sarahcruddas]
And, there are virtual models as well, being added to video games or, in this case (up top), reimagined to take full advantage of the comet's duckish shape.
NASA is also venturing into the field of 3D printing otherworldly objects, such as this amazing model of a meteorite discovered on the surface of Mars by the Opportunity rover in 2oo9. Personally, I hope more extraterrestrial 3D models are made available to the public. I probably won't visit space in my lifetime, but there's something to be said for holding a precise replica of an object that's on the surface of another world.