Jun
24
2005

# Collision in Space

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft is about to crash a probe into a comet 83 million miles from Earth. This will be the first ever super high speed impact between a comet and a man made probe. The collision is scheduled to take place around 1am Central Time,

## Play the DEEP IMPACT game

Courtesy of NASA/JPL/UMD Artwork by Pat Rawlings

July 4 and will be observed by ground and space based observatories as well as the Deep Impact spacecraft and probes themselves.

Given that the comet, named Tempel 1, is traveling at a speed of roughly 6.3 miles per second, and the probe is only 39 inches wide, there is little room for error. Makes me think of word problems for math class. "If a comet is hurtling through space at 23,000 miles per hour 83 million miles from Earth, and you launched a spacecraft to collide with it 173 days prior to the collision, how fast must the spacecraft travel to deploy a probe to impact the comet on July 4?"

Good article.

posted on Sun, 06/26/2005 - 1:34pm

Before Event

After Event

Practicing for the collsion between NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft and comet Tempel 1, the Hubble Space Telescope captured images of a jet of dust streaming from the icy comet on June 14. Astronomers hope the eruption of dust seen in these observations is a preview of the fireworks that may come on July 4, when a probe from the Deep Impact spacecraft will collide with the comet.

posted on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 8:04am

The Deep Impact spacecraft captured images of the Tempel 1 comet "sneezing" ice or other particles, this time on June 22. This is the second time an outburst like this has occurred while the comet is observed in preparation for the collision between Deep Impact's probe and the comet on July 4. You can even watch a QuickTime movie of the "sneeze" at the NASA's Deep Impact web site.

posted on Thu, 06/30/2005 - 7:15am

The collision between NASA's Deep Impact probe and the comet Tempel 1 occurred early on July 4. The probe crashed into the comet at a speed of about 6.3 miles per second, or 23,000 miles per hour.

The impact flash. Image courtesy of NASA/ Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The impact resulted in a huge flash of light, which was captured by the Deep Impact mother ship. You can view images and QuickTime movies of the impact at the Deep Impact website, including images and movies taken by the probe as it plummets into the comet. My personal favorite is this movie of the impact taken by the Deep Impact mother ship.

posted on Thu, 07/07/2005 - 10:22am

Images from Hubble of the collision can be found here.

posted on Thu, 07/07/2005 - 10:38am

A lot of satellites were focused on the Tempel 1 comet on July 4th. One of them, NASA's Swift satellite, normally looks for explosions in space called gamma-ray bursts and creating a map of X-ray sources.

Swift is currently watching Tempel 1 and measuring how much material was kicked up by the impact using X-rays. X-rays are useful to measure this because they are created by the new material as it is lifted into the comet's atmosphere and then made visible by the sun's solar wind. The more material kicked up into the atmosphere by the collision, the more X-rays there are.

For more information visit the Goddard Space Flight Center's Swift website or NASA's Swift website.

posted on Fri, 07/15/2005 - 11:01pm

Observations of Tempel 1 made by the European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft after the collision suggest that comets are made up of more dust than ice, making them 'icy dirtballs' rather than 'dirty snowballs' as previously believed.

posted on Sun, 10/16/2005 - 6:51am

all of this was NASAs FAULT

posted on Thu, 12/29/2005 - 12:58pm

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