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Blowing a Hole in a Comet: Take 2

Share Twit Share Email. Surprising terrain on Comet Tempel 1. Credit: Deep Impact. Explore further. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Best male biathletes 'more attractive' 3 hours ago.

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Deep Impact (spacecraft) - Wikipedia

Archived from the original on October 2, New Frontiers program. That's as much energy as 4. Traveling at 23, mph 37, kilometers per hour , the impactor blew out a crater about feet m wide, according to measurements made by NASA's Stardust mission in Heat and radiation from the sun cook the surface of these dusty snowballs, creating singed outer crusts.

The cloud of debris blowing off the comet from the small spacecraft's collision revealed the first-ever view of the pristine material found inside of a comet and revealed to astronomers that Tempel 1 is covered in a fine powder, "more like talcum powder than beach sand," A'Hearn said. The only time it gets bothered is when the sun cooks it a little or someone slams an pound wake-up call at it at 23, miles per hour. The mission's scientists also determined that comets are surprisingly fluffy, with a comet nucleus composed of at least 50 percent empty space and the surface shell at least 75 percent empty.

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The result confirmed previous indirect observations that suggested comets could be more porous than had been expected, A'Hearn said. Observations by NASA's Swift space telescope revealed that approximately , tons , metric tons of water were released due to the impact; this was a far greater amount than originally predicted. Swift's X-ray observations revealed that the comet took 12 days to return to normal.

Swift's X-ray observations also provided new insights into how the solar wind strips material from comets and planets. Nousek was the director of mission operations at Penn State, where the spacecraft's science and flight operations were controlled. This is all virgin territory. These observations indicated that the comet may have been born in the part of the solar system now occupied by Uranus and Neptune. This finding supports the Nice model of planetary formation , which suggests that those two planets traded places and scattered comets into deep space. After the probe flew past Tempel 1, the Deep Impact mission team submitted a proposal for an extended mission that would really be two missions in one: a visit to another comet and a hunt for exoplanets.

The spacecraft kept the name Deep Impact. Because of its Astronomers used 10 of the world's largest telescopes, along with Spitzer, to search for radiation from the comet in what A'Hearn called "an heroic effort. With the loss of the original target, astronomers turned to Comet Hartley 2. Discovered in March , the comet had a well-known orbit.

But it would take an additional two years to reach the target compared to what a trip to Boethin would have required.

About Rosetta

In the days before NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, observing worlds around other stars was a greater challenge. Deep Impact worked to change that. The spacecraft studied massive gas giants orbiting five different stars in days or even hours — worlds known as hot Jupiters. Each of the five targets were suspected of hosting a second, smaller planet.