Photo in the News: Probe Crashes Into Comet

Images: Deep Impact crashes into Comet Tempel 1
Email to a Friend


July 5, 2005—Images released by NASA show comet Tempel 1 before and after yesterday's collision between the comet and a washing machine-size impactor placed in its path by scientists. The images on top were made by the probe as the comet approached it at 6.3 miles (10 kilometers) per second. Images on the bottom showing the comet after the crash were made by the Deep Impact mother ship several thousand miles out of harm's way.

"You cannot help but get a big flash when objects meet at 23,000 miles per hour," said Deep Impact co-investigator Pete Schultz of Brown University, Rhode Island. He was one of many scientists celebrating yesterday's hyper-speed crash.

The objective was to create a cloud of dust and ice that could be studied by spectrometers and cameras to determine what comets are made of. The experiment—likened to shooting a bullet with another bullet—could also be useful in case it is ever necessary to try to deflect a giant rock hurtling toward Earth.

—David Braun

Watch a National Geographic News video news report on Deep Impact (requires Windows Media Player).

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




ADVERTISEMENT

 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.