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Infrared Detector Radiator Assembly

Mission: Deep Impact  
Launch: January 12, 2005  
Impact: July 4, 2005  
Comment: Deep Impact was the first mission to eject
material from a comet's surface.

This radiator assembly is a back-up to the one now flying through space on-board NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. Launched in January 2005 to intercept Comet Tempel 1, Deep Impact earned its name by colliding a section of its assembly into the small icy body. To image the cloud of cometary material ejected as a result, Deep Impact was equipped with one of the largest data collection payloads built for planetary science, the High Resolution Instrument (HRI). The HRI was comprised of a telescope, a camera, and an infrared spectrometer. To cool the infrared detector, a passive radiator, such as this one, was faced into the vacuum of space, lowering its own temperature to -180°C.

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