Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Satellites - Robotic Probes
  Bulls-eye! Deep Impact hits comet Tempel 1

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Bulls-eye! Deep Impact hits comet Tempel 1
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-04-2005 02:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Deep Impact Kicks Off Fourth of July With Deep Space Fireworks

After 172 days and 268 million miles of deep space stalking, Deep Impact successfully reached out and touched comet Tempel 1. The collision between the coffee table-sized impactor and city-sized comet occurred at 1:52 am EDT.

"What a way to kick off America's Independence Day," said Deep Impact project manager Rick Grammier of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The challenges of this mission and teamwork that went into making it a success, should make all of us very proud."

"This mission is truly a smashing success," said Andy Dantzler, director of NASA's Solar System Division. "Tomorrow and in the days ahead we will know a lot more about the origins of our solar system."

Official word of the impact came 5 minutes after impact when, at 1:57 am EDT, an image from the spacecraft's medium resolution camera was downlinked to the computer screens of the mission's science team showed the tell-tale signs of a high-speed impact.

"The image clearly shows a spectacular impact," said Deep Impact principal investigator Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park. "With this much data we have a long night ahead of us, but that is what we were hoping for. There is so much here it is difficult to know where to begin."

The celestial collision and ensuing data collection by the nearby Deep Impact mothership was the climax of a very active 24 hour period for the mission which began with impactor release at 2:07 am EDT on July 3. Deep space maneuvers by the flyby, final checkout of both spacecraft and comet imaging took up most of the next 22 hours. Then, the impactor got down to its last two hours of life.

"The impactor kicked into its autonomous navigation mode right on time," said Deep Impact navigator Shyam Bhaskaran, of JPL. "Our preliminary analysis indicates the three impactor targeting maneuvers occurred on time at 90, 35 and 12.5 minutes before impact."

At the moment the impactor was vaporizing itself in its 6.3 miles a second collision with comet Tempel 1, the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft was monitoring events from nearby and will continue to do so for the next several days.

"The flyby surviving closest approach and shield mode has put the cap on an outstanding day," said Grammier. "Soon, we will begin the process of downlinking all the encounter information in one batch and hand it to the science team."

Deep Impact will provide a glimpse beneath the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged. Mission scientists expect the project will answer basic questions about the formation of the solar system, by offering a better look at the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers known as comets.

The University of Maryland is responsible for overall Deep Impact mission science, and project management is handled by JPL. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colo.

New Member


posted 07-04-2005 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BigWaveDave   Click Here to Email BigWaveDave     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was lucky enough to sit in on a live feed from both NASA TV and from The Keck Telescope at the time of impact.

Keck Observatory had three big screens setup at their Waimea office with several comet experts doing comentary. One screen had a live feed of what Keck was seeing and analizing(with their spectrometer). Of course NASA had the best pictures but it was a treat to see what the biggest landbased telescope was viewing and how they analize the data.

The lead astronomer pointed out that they quickly detected large amounts of hydrogen/methane, water, and a few other componds. But it will take weeks, months and years to analize, accurately, all the data that was pouring in. Oh yeah, and they detected about 800 pounds of copper from the probe(just kidding). Actually, copper was used in the making of the probe so it would not interfere with the compounds blasted from the comet.

Wow! what a show, and what a great time to be alive to see all this great space exploration and science!!



Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 07-04-2005 03:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another proof that unmanned spaceflight is exciting!

ESA has some nice photos.


Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 07-04-2005 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brilliant trajectory plotting and mission planning.

BBC regional telephoned me earlier today and have said they will do a live interview about Comet Temple with me later tonight.



Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 07-04-2005 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read that 10,000 folk watched it live on a giant screen at Waikiki Beach, Honolulu and that internet traffic for the live impact outstripped Cassini and MER events combined!

We should tap into this success for space collecting.



Posts: 821
From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 07-04-2005 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a marvelous achievement. It's not too much of a stretch to say that the lessons learned from this experience might play a HUGE role in the history of our species some day. My congratulations to all involved.


LT Scott Schneeweis
posted 07-05-2005 12:22 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Despite the rain, while set-up at Ironwood Observatory on Northshore Oahu Last Night some moderate success with our C-14's...

Scott Schneeweis


Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-05-2005 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I observed the comet visually from the mountains in West Virginia using a 0.5 meter Dob prior to impact (the comet was below the horizon here during the collision event).

It was very diffuse and although I was observing from a dark sky location there was a lot of haze. With increased magnification a tiny stellar nuclear condensation was visible.

I watched the NASA Select coverage from a nearby cabin with a satellite dish. Due to anticipated poor observing conditions I cut my five day trip to three days.


Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-05-2005 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A friend sent me this and I thought I share it with you.

From an incredible, historic day, I mean, just think, they were changing the heavens! -- some of the results of the press conference, held just over two hours ago, were:
  1. An observatory reporting the comet's brightness increasing by FIVE TIMES for about a half hour after impact, than back to two times.
  2. The team expects to process an image of the CRATER that was left soon, with one member speculating that it will definitely be far greater than the size of a house. The new pictures from this press conference have incredible detail all the way to impact.
  3. Big differences in spectra through the event show there are definitely different layers inside the comet which can now be studied.
  4. Two identifiable explosion segments occurred with an "umbrella" cloud forming near the first explosion. A "column" of plume formed after the 2nd, with this plume casting a somewhat straight, clearly visible shadow across the comet.
  5. The new high resolution images & geographic knowledge gained can reveal what points on the comet that it's "tails" are fountaining out from, so to speak, and the chemistry of comet tails & origin points can now be studied.
  6. The new post-flyby backside pics now also show the bright impact plume.
Great Job Deep Impact Team!



Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 07-10-2005 04:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
British TV-channel BBC 2 had a great episode of the Sky at Night about the Deep Impact mission, showing both images of the astronomers at Palomar observatory and many Amateur-astronomers outside. There's a rerun this night. Otherwise check it online.


Posts: 1208
From: Upcountry, Maui, Hawaii
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 07-11-2005 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Heres another link with images and animation.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a