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 October 25, 2014 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 October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The mission is China's next step toward automated sample-return missions and eventual manned missions to the moon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. 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