Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Well what do we do with the next impactor that is heading our way?

Deep Impact
*A gigantic comet is set to strike Earth within the next year. A sextet
of qualified personnel are sent into space to blow the comet up before
it smashes into ground zero and annihilates all of mankind. Meanwhile,
all of the inhabitants of dear planet Earth must begin to deal with the
not-too-unrealistic approach of Doomsday. Panic and suspense ensues.

Ooops, wrong movie.

Deep Impact Mission
*Night of the Comet *
A new interactive feature previews Deep Impact's July 4 face-to-face
encounter with comet Tempel 1. A slide show, animations and videos
detail this historic encounter

This one is going to be in real time and viewable from the U.S. West
Coast. - LRK -

Night Sky Columnist
By Joe Rao Night Sky Columnist
posted: 03 June 2005
06:23 am ET

In early July, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a tiny impactor
to smash into the nucleus of a small comet. The idea is to excavate a
sizable crater and provide valuable insight into the true nature of comets.

For skywatchers here on Earth, it should also produce a large cloud of
ejected material that should cause the comet to significantly brighten
enough to become visible with binoculars and perhaps even with the
unaided eye.


*June 9, 2005*

TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Dolores Beasley (202) 358-1753
NASA Headquarters, Washington

D.C. Agle (818) 393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

NEWS RELEASE: 2005-098


After a voyage of 173 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million
miles), NASA\'s Deep Impact spacecraft will get up-close and personal
with comet Tempel 1 on July 4 (EDT).

The first of its kind, hyper-speed impact between space-borne iceberg
and copper-fortified probe is scheduled for approximately 1:52 a.m. EDT
on Independence Day (10:52 p.m. PDT on July 3). The potentially
spectacular collision will be observed by the Deep Impact spacecraft,
and ground and space-based observatories.

"We are really threading the needle with this one," said Rick Grammier,
Deep Impact project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif. "In our quest of a great scientific payoff, we are
attempting something never done before at speeds and distances that are
truly out of this world."

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.

"The autonav is like having a little astronaut on board," Grammier said.
"It has to navigate and fire thrusters three times to steer the wine
cask-sized impactor into the mountain-sized comet nucleus closing at
23,000 miles per hour."

The crater produced by the impact could range in size from a large house
up to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. Ice and dust
debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material beneath.
The flyby spacecraft has approximately 13 minutes to take images and
spectra of the collision and its result before it must endure a
potential blizzard of particles from the nucleus of the comet.

"The last 24 hours of the impactor\'s life should provide the most
spectacular data in the history of cometary science," said Deep Impact
Principal Investigator Dr. Michael A\'Hearn of the University of
Maryland, College Park. "With the information we receive after the
truly out of this world."

Thanks for continuing to look up with me.
If you know of others that would like to look up too,
let them know they are most welcome to join the lunar-update list. - LRK -

Larry Kellogg
larry.kellogg at


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