Science Saturday: Comet crashing this weekend
My inner science geek will be checking this out this 4th of July weekend: NASA's Deep Impact project, the 8th Discovery mission.
...Deep Impact's Impactor probe -- an 820-pound (372-kilogram), camera-equipped chunk of copper -- will be placed in Tempel 1's path and ultimately slam into the comet at about 23,000 miles an hour (37,014 kilometers an hour). Snapping images until the last, Impactor is designed to give researchers their closest look yet at a comet's surface.For us on the Pacific Coast, it'll happen a little before 11 PM, and on the East Caast, in the wee morning hours of July 4th.
"We hope to get 15 centimeters resolution," Yeomans told SPACE.com, adding that extreme dust conditions could still limit Impactor's camera. "That's unprecedented resolution."
Meanwhile, Flyby will record the event -- along with a myriad of Earth-based and orbital instruments -- with telescopes capable of two-meter resolution and an infrared spectrometer to determine the mineral make-up of Tempel 1's innards.
May want to check out the astronomy sites for the latest buzz.
My personal reaction, getting some distance from my inner science geek, is to wonder why they couldn't figure out a less invasive way of doing this.