Friday, July 01, 2005

One for the Science teachers

NASA's Deep Impact is on path to smash into the comet Tempel1 in the early morning hours of July 4, according to a CNN story.

The Deep Impact spacecraft is composed of two probes mated together -- "flyby" and "impactor."

Flyby is about the size of a small car and will monitor the impact. It carries two cameras -- a high-resolution one, which will be tightly focused on the crater, and a medium-resolution camera, which will take wider views.

The impactor is an 820-pound copper-fortified probe designed to produce maximum wallop when it hits the comet. It also carries a medium-resolution camera that will record the probe's final moments before it collides with the comet.

If all goes well, at 1:52 am ET on July 4, Tempel 1 will run into impactor, busting a hole in the comet and revealing its inner core.

"It will be all over in the blink of an eye," Grammier said.

Until its death, the impactor will record images and gather data while flyby passes 310 miles (500 kilometers) away, observing the impact, the ejected material, and the structure and composition of the comet's interior. Most of the data will be stored on flyby and radioed back to Earth after the encounter.

Hopefully there will be some really cool pictures of the event from one of the space based telescopes.

No comments: