Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

NASA space probe to slam into comet July 4

Filed under
Sci/Tech

NASA's Deep Impact probe is scheduled to lob a big copper "bullet" into a comet on July 4 to look into the heart of this remnant from the formation of our solar system, scientists said on Thursday.

Impact is expected at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT) on U.S. Independence Day.

About a day before the collision, the Deep Impact craft will send a 317-pound (144 kg) copper-fortified impactor toward comet Tempel 1, which will be about 83 million miles from Earth.
The impactor will steer itself toward the comet and the Deep Impact craft will pass about 310 miles away from it and watch the smash-up, the scientists said at a briefing.

Rick Grammier, the project manager for the mission, called this maneuver "extremely challenging."

"It's a bullet trying to hit a second bullet with a third bullet, in the right place at the right time, watching the first two bullets and gathering the scientific data from that impact," Grammier said.

The Deep Impact mission is designed to offer a look under the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged.

Astronomers do not know what kind of impact they will see when the impactor hits: the crater produced on the comet could range in size from a large house to the size of a football stadium. Either way, it will not appreciably change the comet's path.

The crash is expected to eject a spray of ice and dust from the comet's surface and reveal the material beneath it on this Manhattan-sized space rock. At that point, the Deep Impact craft will have about 13 minutes to capture images and data before it weathers what astronomers expect will be a blizzard of particles thrown out of the nucleus of the comet.

There are cameras aboard the impactor and the main craft, and the crash will also be observed by the Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes in addition to telescopes on Earth.

Because scientists do not know how bright the impact will be, they can't say whether backyard astronomers will be able to see it. But those with the best chance are those in the western United States and possibly New Zealand.

More information and images are available online at http:/www.nasa.gov/deepimpact.

© Reuters 2005.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

today's leftovers

  • Why leading DevOps may get you a promotion
    Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project and leading DevOps proponent, seems to think so. In a recent interview with TechBeacon's Mike Perrow, Kim notes that of "the nearly 100 speakers at DevOps Enterprise Summits over the last two years, about one in three have been promoted."
  • Cloud Vendors, The Great Disruptors, Face Disruption From Blockchain
  • SWORDY, a local party brawler could come to Linux if Microsoft allow it
    SWORDY is a rather fun looking local party brawler that has just released on Steam in Early Access. It could see a Linux release too, if Microsoft allow it.
  • System Shock remake has blasted past the Linux stretch goal, officially coming to Linux
    The Linux stretch goal was $1.1 million and it's pleasing to see it hit the goal, so we won't miss out now. I am hoping they don't let anyone down, as they have shown they can do it already by providing the demo. There should be no reason to see a delay with Linux now.
  • GammaRay 2.5 release
    GammaRay 2.5 has been released, the biggest feature release yet of our Qt introspection tool. Besides support for Qt 5.7 and in particular the newly added Qt 3D module a slew of new features awaits you, such as access to QML context property chains and type information, object instance statistics, support for inspecting networking and SSL classes, and runtime switchable logging categories.
  • GammaRay 2.5 Released For Qt Introspection
    KDAB has announced the release of GammaRay 2.5, what they say is their "biggest feature release yet", the popular introspection tool for Qt developers.
  • The new Keyboard panel
    After implementing the new redesigned Shell of GNOME Control Center, it’s now time to move the panels to a bright new future. And the Keyboard panel just walked this step.
  • Debian on Seagate Personal Cloud and Seagate NAS
    The majority of NAS devices supported in Debian are based on Debian's Kirkwood platform. This platform is quite dated now and can only run Debian's armel port. Debian now supports the Seagate Personal Cloud and Seagate NAS devices. They are based on Marvell's Armada 370, a platform which can run Debian's armhf port. Unfortunately, even the Armada 370 is a bit dated now, so I would not recommend these devices for new purchases. If you have one already, however, you now have the option to run native Debian.

OSS Leftovers