Not happy with having discovered many of the secrets of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko thanks to the Rosetta mission and its Philae probe, ESA-Rosetta team scientists have also engaged in a naming exercise, and identified 19 regions on the surface of the comet – with distinct types of terrains (shown in the photo with different colours).
Considering the Ancient Egyptian flavour of the whole mission (even the instruments got their names from that; just think about the Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System – OSIRIS), it is just natural that those regions on the comet surface’s have been named after Egyptian deities.
As any SF lover knows, Ancient Egyptians and the way they are connected to outer space is something around since long. Who doesn’t remember Zelazny and his Creatures of Light and Darkness, which portrays old Egyptian Gods in a far away future somewhere in the universe?
The House of Life ruled by Osiris, where various people the god has met in his past have been transformed in furnitures, was one of my worst nightmares when I was a kid.
And many theories assuming that aliens have visited Earth long ago also believe Ancient Egyptians, and their pyramids, and the whole civilisation, are somehow connected to them (but not necessarily: see Graham Hancock, for example, or this article of IO9 for some other weird stories not involving aliens).
Whatever the truth, if you enjoy Ancient Egyptian’s myths you will have fun tracking down deities and their names on the comet. You have some cool ones like Anubis (incidentally, also on the cover of Zelazny’s book), the jackal-headed god of the afterlife, Anuket, the goddess of Nile river and Khepri, the solar god of scarab beetle. And Bastet, of course, the cat-goddess of dance, music, and love.
In case Rosetta whetted your appetite about Ancient Egyptians and their amazing civilisation, this is a good starting point for discovering more about them.
A stunning detail of the Comet