Deep Impact

Deep Impact

A spacecraft breaks open a comet's secrets

By Ron Cowen, 15:53 PM April 15, 2008

Moving serenely through space some 130 million kilometers from Earth, Comet Tempel 1 appears no different than it did before July 4, the day a NASA spacecraft called Deep Impact fired a 372-kilogram copper projectile into the comet's icy surface. But if the impact left barely a dent in this 9-kilometer-long, fist-shaped body, the data collected from the collision have made an indelible mark on studies of comets and the formation of the solar system.

Observations of the crash suggest that scie...

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