Ready to shoot the Bullet... Jun 10, 2005 14:22:17 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 10, 2005 14:22:17 GMT -6
Deep Impact Nearing its Target
(Jun 10, 2005) NASA's Deep Impact is now only a few weeks away from its target, Comet Tempel 1, which it's due to strike on July 4. During the morning of July 3, the spacecraft will deploy its 1 metre (39 inch) impactor which will then guide itself to collide with the comet. Deep Impact will fly 500 km (310 miles) below the comet and capture every moment of the collision with its instruments. The spacecraft will have 13 minutes to take pictures and transmit them back to Earth before it enters a hail of particles from the comet's nucleus.
During the early morning hours of July 3 (EDT), the Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a 1-meter-wide (39-inch-wide) impactor into the path of the comet, which is about half the size of Manhattan Island, N.Y. Over the next 22 hours, Deep Impact navigators and mission members located more than 133 million kilometers (83 million miles) away at JPL, will steer both spacecraft and impactor toward the comet. The impactor will head into the comet and the flyby craft will pass approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) below.
Tempel 1 is hurtling through space at approximately 37,100 kilometers per hour (23,000 miles per hour or 6.3 miles per second). At that speed you could travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than 6.5 minutes. Two hours before impact, when mission events will be happening so fast and so far away, the impactor will kick into autonomous navigation mode. It must perform its own navigational solutions and thruster firings to make contact with the comet.
Full story here from Universe today: www.universetoday.com/am/publish/deep_impact_nearing_target.html?1062005
Will it hit, or will the copper bullet miss the comet? I wonder what Vegas odds are?