Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

JPL's New Deep Impact Asteroid Mission OK'd By NASA

Date:
July 8, 1999
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A radical mission to excavate the interior of a comet has been selected as one of the next two flights in NASA's Discovery Program. The mission will send a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) copper projectile into comet P/Tempel 1, creating a crater as big as a football field and as deep as a seven-story building.

A radical mission to excavate the interior of a comet has been selected as one of the next two flights in NASA's Discovery Program, the agency announced this week (July 7).

The comet mission, called Deep Impact, will be managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, led by Dr. Michael A'Hearn from the University of Maryland in College Park, and built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. The mission will send a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) copper projectile into comet P/Tempel 1, creating a crater as big as a football field and as deep as a seven-story building. A camera and infrared spectrometer on the spacecraft, along with ground-based observatories, will study the resulting icy debris blasted off the comet, as well as the pristine interior material exposed by the impact.

"Comets are leftovers from the birth of the Sun and the planets, and Deep Impact will punch through the dark crust of P/Tempel 1 to give us our first look at what's inside," said JPL director Dr. Edward Stone.

James E. Graf will serve as project manager at JPL. Graf currently heads NASA's QuikScat mission to measure sea surface winds over the global ocean, successfully launched last month.

Deep Impact will be launched in January 2004 toward an explosive July 4, 2005 encounter with P/Tempel 1. Those impacts will occur at an approximate speed of 10 kilometers per second (22,300 mph). The total cost of Deep Impact to NASA is $240 million.

NASA also announced the selection of another new Discovery mission, one that will map the pockmarked surface of Mercury. That spacecraft, to be built and managed by the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, is known as Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging mission, or Messenger.

"These low-cost missions are both fantastic examples of the creativity of the space science community," said Dr. Edward Weiler, associate administrator for space science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. "Deep Impact presents a special chance to do some truly unique science, and it is a direct complement to the other two comet missions already in the Discovery Program."

Those missions, both managed by JPL, are Stardust, launched in February 1999 on a journey to gather samples of comet dust and return them to Earth, and the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) that will launch in June 2002 and fly closely by three comets.

Another Discovery mission managed by JPL was Mars Pathfinder, which landed successfully on the red planet in 1997, accompanied by a small robotic rover named Sojourner. The Pathfinder mission returned hundreds of images and thousands of measurements of the Martian environment.

In this latest round of Discovery missions, NASA selected Deep Impact and Messenger from 26 proposals made in early 1998. The missions must be ready for launch no later than Sept. 30, 2004, within the Discovery Program's development cost cap of $190 million in fiscal 1999 dollars over 36 months and a total mission cost of $299 million. The Discovery Program emphasizes lower-cost, highly focused scientific missions.

JPL will manage the Deep Impact mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "JPL's New Deep Impact Asteroid Mission OK'd By NASA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990708080608.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1999, July 8). JPL's New Deep Impact Asteroid Mission OK'd By NASA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990708080608.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "JPL's New Deep Impact Asteroid Mission OK'd By NASA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990708080608.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — The initial blast from the record-setting explosion would have appeared more than 10,000 times more powerful than any flare ever recorded. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins