Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Gives Green Light For Deep Impact Mission Development

Date:
May 28, 2001
Source:
National Aeronautics And Space Administration
Summary:
NASA approved development of a robotic spacecraft mission that reads more like a story line from a science fiction movie script. Imagine intercepting a comet in deep space and using a heavy projectile to blow a hole in the celestial body, some seven stories deep and about the size of a football field.

NASA approved development of a robotic spacecraft mission that reads more like a story line from a science fiction movie script. Imagine intercepting a comet in deep space and using a heavy projectile to blow a hole in the celestial body, some seven stories deep and about the size of a football field.

Related Articles


In a space exploration first, NASA's Deep Impact Mission will attempt to use a probe to collide with a comet in an attempt to peer beneath its surface. Scheduled for launch in January 2004, the unique spacecraft is expected to arrive at comet Tempel 1 in July 2005.

Researchers hope the impact will allow them to measure freshly exposed material and study samples hidden deep below the surface of the comet, which could yield dramatic scientific breakthroughs.

The 770 pound impactor, equipped with a camera, will separate from the flyby spacecraft and slam into the comet at an approximate speed of 22,300 miles per hour, blasting material from the comet into space with the force of its impact. A camera and infrared spectrometer on the flyby spacecraft, along with ground-based observatories, will study the resulting icy debris and exposed pristine interior material.

The total cost of Deep Impact to NASA is $279 million. The principal investigator, Dr. Michael A'Hearn, University of Maryland, College Park, will lead a team consisting of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and Ball Aerospace Technology Corp., Boulder, CO, which will build the spacecraft.

Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867. Orbiting the sun every five and a half years, it has made many passages through the inner solar system. This makes it a good target to study evolutionary change in the mantle, or upper crust, of the comet.

Scientists are eager to learn whether comets exhaust their supply of gas and ice to space or seal it into their interiors. They would also like to learn how a comet's interior is different from its surface. The controlled cratering experiment of this mission could provide those answers.

NASA's Discovery Program emphasizes lower-cost, highly focused scientific missions within the Space Science enterprise. NASA has developed six other Discovery Program missions. Three have completed their missions, one is operational and two others, in addition to Deep Impact, are under development:

* In 1997, the Mars Pathfinder lander, carrying a small robotic rover named Sojourner, landed successfully on Mars and returned hundreds of images and thousands of measurements of the Martian environment.

* The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft orbited the asteroid Eros for a year, ending with a successful landing on February 12, 2001.

* The Lunar Prospector orbiter mapped the Moon's composition and gravity field and completed its highly successful mission in July 1999.

* The Stardust mission to gather samples of comet dust and return them to Earth was launched in February 1999, and is on its way to comet Wild-2.

* The Genesis mission to gather samples of the solar wind and return them to Earth is scheduled for launch on July 30, 2001.

* The Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) mission to fly closely by three comets is scheduled for launch in June 2002.

More information on the Deep Impact mission, including images and animations of the impact, is available on the Internet at:

http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/

http://deepimpact.umd.edu/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Aeronautics And Space Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Gives Green Light For Deep Impact Mission Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010528085646.htm>.
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. (2001, May 28). NASA Gives Green Light For Deep Impact Mission Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010528085646.htm
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Gives Green Light For Deep Impact Mission Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010528085646.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
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