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Mika McKinnon @mikamckinnon
, 12 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
#Mu69: contact binary, peanut, snowman, BB8 droid, balancing balls, & cute lil Kuiper Belt Object who will upend what we thought we knew because that's how science works.

Tech thread from today's news release:
Q: What's a contact binary?
A: What used to be a binary system (2 things orbiting each other) that got squished together (contact) until they're now 1 lumptastic thing.

Details (with diagrams!):…
For #MU69, it looks like it was very gentle squishage. Like, the softest of squeezy-taps from two balls in space to one wonky lil friend.

All that brightness in the neck? Probably fine powders settling into the seam.

So soft. So gentle. So friendly.
Related: We have so many options for better nicknames for #Mu69 now. I'd be game to keep it as our little peanut, or go for Mooo and draw it as a spherical cow.
I traced #Mu69 onto my trusty index cards and gave a few tries at spherical cows.

The ears are detracting, but otherwise it works. I might need to try a pair of colliding spherical cows later.
I mean, #Mu69 has perfectly-placed bright spots for eyes, enough albedo variation to make good jersey splotches, and that bright neck band is ideal for hanging a cowbell.

Mu69 is Moo, our little space-cow & the next place visited after goofy Pluto.
Assume 2 spherical cows in a low-velocity inelastic collision with the tiniest bit of kinetic energy lost to deforming them into a glommed-together cow...

(My To Do list has been replaced with index cards of #Mu69 cows.)
Several people pointed out colliding spherical cows in a vacuum would obey conservation of momentum, so of course I had to add a timestep diagram for initial & final conditions.
Alternate draft edges into PG13 in an effort to honour the 69 in Mu69 because yes, not only did I never grow out of the “assume a spherical cow” stage of physics, I’m also an eternal teenager snickering at KBO naming conventions.

At least I didn’t run friction equations?
I don’t know that much about cattle, but in physics we always assume spherical cows (no bulls, thus the lack of horns), so I’m guessing #Mu69 might actually be a lesbian space cow encounter.

Which is way better than Nazi paradise when it comes to charming nicknames.
Q: I love the sketches, but, uh, I don't know physics and I'm confused?
A: Physicists love to simplify reality until it fits our mathematical models. A classic homework problem format starts "Assume a spherical cow..."

Mu69 sounds like Moo & looks like 2 spheres.
...I drew a few more #Mu69 kissing cows for my friends.

These will totally evolve into my #sciart #scivalentines next month.
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