Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Deep Impact Still Making History / UPDATE!!!

For only the fifth time in the history of the space program, a spacecraft will fly close enough to image a comet. The probe Deep Impact first made history when it launched an 800 pound impactor into the comet Tempel 1, July fourth of 2005 totally changing what we thought we knew about the makeup of the comet.

That impact was supposed to be the end of the spectacularly successful 300 million dollar mission. However NASA gave mission controllers permission to go for another close encounter with a comet and JPL decided that a comet discovered 24 years ago was a good candidate. This comet was Hartley2 discovered by Malcom Hartley using the Schmidt Telescope in Australia.

At 7:00am on Thursday November fourth, Deep Impact Extended investigation ( DIXI) will approach the comet within apx 400 miles, taking pictures along the way.

NASA's Goddard Space Center article Wiki Deep Inpact and DIXI mission

And here are some spectacular photos from Comet Hartley 2

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