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Deep Impact

The Deep Impact mission seems to have been a fantastic success. The impactor hit the nucleus of the comet right on target, puncturing the crust and sending a huge cloud of material from the interior streaming out into space. This material, travelling at an estimated 1800 km/hour, reflected the light from the Sun and caused the comet to dramatically increase in brightness. The event was observed by telescopes around the planet, including the Faulkes telescope in Hawaii, and the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. Hopefully the data will all be safely retrieved from the Deep Impact craft and the project scientists can start to analyse it in order to learn more about what comets are really made of. We know that they are dirty snowballs, a mixture of ice and dust left over from the formation of the solar system, but this mission will give us a much better understanding of just what elements are inside them, and in what proportions.

Posted by Megan on Tuesday 05th Jul 2005 (23:50 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink


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Last updated: Sunday, 22-Jun-2014 23:32:13 BST