PDA

View Full Version : Discussion: Deep Impact Smashes Into Tempel 1



Fraser
2005-Jul-04, 06:27 AM
SUMMARY: NASA's Deep Impact mission completed its primary goal July 4th, when its impactor spacecraft smashed into Comet Tempel 1. NASA scientists are eagerly reviewing the impact data captured by the flyby spacecraft to learn what size crater was excavated, and the kind of material ejected into space. The 373 kg (820 lb) copper impactor crossed paths with Tempel 1 right on schedule, at 0552 UTC (1:52 am EDT). More than 60 observatories on Earth and in space were on hand to watch the collision and help gather data. As expected, Comet Tempel 1 was entirely unfazed by the impact, and hasn't changed its orbit in any detectable way.


What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

dave_f
2005-Jul-04, 06:28 AM
Wow... that was one heck of an explosion!

MarQ
2005-Jul-04, 06:37 AM
Great job by Fraser to get the story and smashing photo on the web site so quick! I've been waiting on the NASA site, after seeing the live celebration on CNN tv.
I started surfing, and you have the story a half hour after the impact. Great job.

On this Thursday July 14, Forty years will have passed since Mariner IV passed by Mars and took 22 B&W photos that ended speculation about Little Green Men. You didn't see those photos--except a few released to the press--until the scientific periodicals came out two months later.

Look at Deep Impact, and MER Spirit and Opportunity, and three orbiters operating around the Red Planet, and see what we can do?

I'm for more unmanned planetary explorers.

Guest
2005-Jul-04, 07:07 AM
yep worth staying up all night to watch it :)

quick job fraser. wtg.

piersdad
2005-Jul-04, 07:08 AM
as one of the chief scientists said.
"i dont believe we are paid to have this much fun"
all i can say what an incredible feat of navigation

Planetwatcher
2005-Jul-04, 07:47 AM
I get an error message when trying to access the story.
I suspect proabley because so many people around the world are to access it as well.

I live in the middle of a city, so I missed the oppertunity to set up my scope and watch the thing. Besides that, my skies are overcast, and in fact we have some severe thunderstorms in the region at the current time.
Yes, severe weather in the middle of the night. Well just before 3 AM in my time zone.

Tom2Mars
2005-Jul-04, 07:50 AM
Nice "live" shot and animated GIF at:

Kitt Peak Webcam (http://www.noao.edu/news/deep-impact/)

I fell asleep early, then woke up at the minute it was reported to have impacted.

Guess I am too sensitive! :o

Planetwatcher
2005-Jul-04, 07:57 AM
That one I was able to access, but the picture was from before the crash.
It was loading an update, but taking an awful long time to do it.
I'll wait a while and try again.

Tom2Mars
2005-Jul-04, 08:03 AM
Here is the NASA page of the actual hit:

KAPOW! (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/deepimpact/main/index.html)

Greg
2005-Jul-04, 08:06 AM
Hitting a bullet with a bullet, very Impressive!
The U.S. defense department should take notice and consult with NASA (j/k.)
Let's hope the data collection went as well as planned.
This mission got alot of much deserved public attention due in part to fortuitous timing. If only every mission received similar attention.

Spacemad
2005-Jul-04, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by Greg@Jul 4 2005, 08:06 AM
Hitting a bullet with a bullet, very Impressive!
The U.S. defense department should take notice and consult with NASA (j/k.)
Let's hope the data collection went as well as planned.
This mission got alot of much deserved public attention due in part to fortuitous timing. If only every mission received similar attention.

Quite right, Greg, if only all the missions recieved such attention!!!

At 7 am here in the UK I heard on the news that the mission had been a success! I connected to a live chat page (in Spanish) shortly afterwards & we talked about the Deep Impact Mission & we were able to see some of the very first images sent back! I wasn't able to get into NASA's site for the images - the servers must have been overwhelmed!!!

Congratulations to all at NASA & mission control for such excellent work! :)

Tom2Mars
2005-Jul-04, 08:36 AM
Hi Spacemad!

For you and others facile in Spanish, you'll appreciate the live webcast of the event from the Carl Sagan Observatory:

Impacto profundo: Transmision en vivo (http://cosmos.astro.uson.mx/Ciencia/Planetaria/di/live.htm)

Sorry, I don't know were the accent key is Transmisio'n. :P

Planetwatcher
2005-Jul-04, 09:09 AM
Okay, so now that we hit the comet, what did we learn other then such a method won't work to deflect a comet which may threaten Earth someday?

Spacemad
2005-Jul-04, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Planetwatcher@Jul 4 2005, 09:09 AM
Okay, so now that we hit the comet, what did we learn other then such a method won't work to deflect a comet which may threaten Earth someday?

Planetwatcher, don't you think it's a bit early to be worrying about deflecting or destroying comets on a collision course with Earth? The dust hasn't "settled" yet (nor will it ever! :P ) on the impact!

Give the scientists at least a few days to go through their data!

Anyway it was never inteded to do more than it did - namely blast a big hole in the comet so the ejecta could be studied so as to understand the composition of a comet, (at least this one's composition, as that of others may differ), & to see if it really is just a "Dirty Snowball" or if it is more rockier in make up than that.#

Tom2Mars: Thanks for the link. I went along but Windows Media Player, (mine at least), doesn't support the format used on the site, so I was unable to see the video connection.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Jul-04, 10:10 AM
In the NASA movie, what are all the bits and bobs flying around from frame to frame?

VanderL
2005-Jul-04, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by Tom2Mars@Jul 4 2005, 08:03 AM
Here is the NASA page of the actual hit:

KAPOW! (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/deepimpact/main/index.html)


KAPOW indeed,

It looks almost exactly like the artist impression that was released earlier (ok, the shape of Tempel 1 isn't as potato-like), and looking at the crater in the upper part of the image, apparently the experiment of hitting a comet has been done before :P . Wonder who that was.

Hopefully a sequence of images can be produced soon, what I think I see is that the explosion generated a lot of light.

Cheers.

uni dude 2005
2005-Jul-04, 11:09 AM
i want to know what it looked like really because im savin up for a reflecting telescope with starfinder stuff etc etc......

Polly V
2005-Jul-04, 01:10 PM
At 1 am my time, that's US west coast time. they already had the images of impactor flying toward the comet. Its last pic was sent 3 sec before impact. Impressive! :D

Willy Logan
2005-Jul-04, 01:45 PM
What a great treat for the American Independence Day!

Now, how soon until we get a preliminary analysis of the data to get a sense of what material the comet is made?

I guess the Russian astrologer suing NASA for disrupting the balance of the cosmos needn't have bothered. :D

-Willy

John L
2005-Jul-04, 03:50 PM
YeeHaw!!! What a great hit! Just another example of us being able to do anything we imagine! I can hardly wait for the spectra to come back to find out what a comets interior looks like/is made of. I just hope we learn everything they wanted us to.

And I've seen of the the CFHT animated gifs and images, as well as the bright ejecta fan from the Hubble images. I'm sure of the next few days I'll get very little real work done as I continue to follow the results pouring in from around the world. Watching discoveries as they happen is the best part of our instant information society.

And it looks like the flyby craft survived unscathed, which means it still has enough fuel and power to keep on going. There is talk about send it to yet another comet, or any other target within reach of its fuel. For all of the real scientists out there I heard that NASA is quickly taking proposals for an extended mission. Talking about getting your moneys worth!

dougreed
2005-Jul-05, 01:15 AM
Remember the LENGTHY "scientific" report that someone posted a few months back that said by now, after the comet was impacted, we would all be swirling into some antimatter, chain reaction abyss? So much for all his "scientific proof"- speculation is still speculation, even with paper proof- like they say; "it ain't over til the fat lady sings", well that lady sang and we are still here. Not till cause and effect are demonstrated in real time - then, and only then, can theory be accepted as fact...(probabilities and possibilities acknowleged) and until then we all know it by another name : science-fiction...

John L
2005-Jul-05, 02:08 AM
Ditto on the anti-matter theory. If anything in the solar system was made of anti-matter it would have been destroyed billions of years ago from dust and solar wind particle impacts. As empty as space is there is still enough stuff out there to have anihilated every bit of the anti-matter within our solar system.

And I just downloaded and watched the videos from the impactor, and the medium and high res cameras from the flyby craft. Very cool! It looks to me like we need to work on our long range analysis, though. That comet is not oblong in any way. It was fairly round from the approach and flyby videos.

The high res flyby video of the impact was very impressive. You could see the initial bright flash from the hit and then the outward spray of material from the newly forming crater. Very spectacular imagery!

om@umr.edu
2005-Jul-05, 02:31 AM
Originally posted by John L@Jul 4 2005, 03:50 PM
YeeHaw!!! What a great hit!

I can hardly wait for the spectra to come back to find out what a comets interior looks like/is made of.

Talking about getting your moneys worth!
Hi, John L.

NASA's $333 million Deep Impact event on the 4th of July was indeed a smashing success in terms of engineering and public relations.

In terms of our ability to deflect incoming objects or prepare for "Star Wars", this event may have practical value and in that sense American taxpayers got their "moneys worth!".

However, for reasons cited on PhysOrg (http://www.physorg.com/news4899.html) I dispute the claim that the Deep Impact collision has real science value with potential to reveal the primordial building blocks of the solar system [See CBS News Report of 27 June 2005 (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/27/tech/main704605.shtml)] .

To resolve this difference of opinion publicly, I suggest that you use this site to inform UT readers of all scientific discoveries resulting from this $333 million mission. I will ask for notification of replies so I can comment and/or admit my mistake.

Let's try to keep the exchange friendly.

Thanks,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

John L
2005-Jul-05, 06:20 AM
Doc O,

For those of us that have been coming to UT for a while, we know what you think about the formation of the solar system. The Deep Impact mission will show us what this particular comet is made of, at least the out layers, and that should be the same materials that the entire solar system was formed from. Should be.

If comets all or mostly all come from the outer solar system, then the materials from which they are made should be the lighter materials that did not sink into the center of the solar system during its formation. We won't see large amounts of iron, nickel, silicon, thorium, or other heavy elements that collected near the center of the solar system as the pre-solar nebula collapsed; or as Doc O claims as the remnants of the last super nova recollapsed onto the nuetron star remnant. What it will be shown to be made of are the lighter elements that populated that outer solar nebula when our solar system formed, and the elements that this particular comet has picked up onto its outer surface over the life of the solar system. We'll still learn some new things, but maybe Doc O is right that we won't really learn what the early solar system was really made of...

tyrie2001
2005-Jul-05, 07:21 AM
I've got a question for antoniseb, now that the depp impact probe has hit tempel 1, and seeing that there was no massive antimatter/matter explosion is Norm Hansen still sending you email about antimatter comets, or has he withdrawn his statements?

Darrrius
2005-Jul-05, 08:42 AM
Hey Everyone!! I'm back after an extended holiday in Tenerife! Good to be back on UT, and what a day to return with all the deep impact excitment. !!

Was just wondering if we are going to get a look at the crater made by the impacter probe? Is the flyby mothership still in a position to take pictures of temple 1?

Jakenorrish
2005-Jul-05, 11:51 AM
What a wonderful day for Space Exploration. The data seems to be showing that the comet is fairly 'fluffy' on the outside. I expect that it'll be denser further in. The photo's provided thus far have been awesome. I for one would like to congratulate everyone involved.

As far as the arguement about getting your money's worth, well surely the more we explore, the more questions we raise. It seems to me that for each question answered, another hundred arise, so whilst we probably won't be able to predect exactly what the early solar system looked like, we get to learn how dense the comet is, what it is made of under the surface and see some fantastic photos.

Plus I'm British, so my taxes weren't spent on it either. Yippee!!!

isferno
2005-Jul-05, 12:29 PM
cool hit :D

certainly the movie made by the impactor. finaly seeing where those plumes originate from, those white patches at the last few frames.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Jul-05, 01:06 PM
How advanced is the science to rendezvous with something like a speeding comet ?!
We can crash into them, next we land on them, then mine them, then colonize them. Then bring them home. We'll be building planets soon.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-05, 01:38 PM
Originally posted by tyrie2001@Jul 5 2005, 07:21 AM
now that the depp impact probe has hit tempel 1, and seeing that there was no massive antimatter/matter explosion is Norm Hansen still sending you email about antimatter comets, or has he withdrawn his statements?
I've received nothing new from Norm. I expect that the anti-matter comets people take the position that perhaps not ALL comets are made of antimatter. It may take them a while to regroup, and reposition themselves before we hear from them again. This makes four out of four comets that we've had close encounters with that were clearly large objects (kilometers across) and made of normal matter, not small (tens of meters across) and made of antimatter.

John L
2005-Jul-05, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by Darrrius@Jul 5 2005, 02:42 AM
Hey Everyone!! I'm back after an extended holiday in Tenerife! Good to be back on UT, and what a day to return with all the deep impact excitment. !!

Was just wondering if we are going to get a look at the crater made by the impacter probe? Is the flyby mothership still in a position to take pictures of temple 1?
Welcome back Darrius! The flyby craft will not get to watch the crater formation process in this instance unfortunately. Comet 9P/Temple 1 is traveling over 60,000 mph, and the flyby and impactor craft were both traveling, relative to Temple 1, a little over 30,000 mph. The impact was the result of Temple 1 overtaking the impactor and has now flown onward. It would be several 100,000 miles away now.

Where is Tenerife? Like most Americans I'm geographically challenged, although not as much as most.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-05, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by Eric Vaxxine@Jul 5 2005, 01:06 PM
Then bring them home.
I'm not so sure we'll ever be bringing them home. I wouldn't be surprised to see us mining them and bringing parts of them home a few kilotons at a time. By 'home' I mean to other locations in space. I don't think we'll be trying to bring lots of comet materials down to Earth.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-05, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by om@umr.edu@Jul 5 2005, 02:31 AM
I dispute the claim that the Deep Impact collision has real science value with potential to reveal the primordial building blocks of the solar system
I think that Deep Impact will be shown to have great scientific value at revealing the nature of the outer parts of this comet nucleus, but I do agree that this material is likely to be sufficiently 'evolved' that it will not be made of the same abundances as the primordial building blocks of the Solar System. I'd expect that the top layers may well be highly depleted of the more volatile molecules that originally made the comet body. If this is true, it can imply things about the primordial building blocks, but will not BE one.

om@umr.edu
2005-Jul-05, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by John L@Jul 5 2005, 06:20 AM
The Deep Impact mission will show us what this particular comet is made of, at least the out layers, and that should be the same materials that the entire solar system was formed from.* Should be.

We'll still learn some new things, but maybe Doc O is right that we won't really learn what the early solar system was really made of...
Hi, John L.

What chemical and/or isotope analyses will be done on the material thrown off by the impact?

I agree that the comet is probably made mostly of the light elements that are abundant in the outer part of the solar system, elements like H, He, C, and N.

We need to know if the comet has large excesses of the heavy element isotopes that were made by the r-proocess and the p-process in a supernova explosion, isotopes like Xe-136 and Xe-124.

1. Excess Xe-124 and Xe-136 are seen trapped with abundant Helium in inclusions of primitive meteorites made of Carbon (diamond and graphite).

2. The Galileo probe of Jupiter's He-rich atmosphere confirmed a large excess of Xe-136 there. [There were too many hydrocarbons to get a good measurement on Xe-124 - an isotope about 100 times less abundant than Xe-136]

Xenon isotopes are like the color dye that distinguishes dark and light regions of a marble cake. Their abundances show that the iron-rich inner part of the solar system never mixed with the carbon-rich outer part of the solar system.

Just as the color dye of a marble cake shows that the dark regions have not mixed with the light regions.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

Darrrius
2005-Jul-05, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by John L@Jul 5 2005, 01:41 PM
Welcome back Darrius! The flyby craft will not get to watch the crater formation process in this instance unfortunately. Comet 9P/Temple 1 is traveling over 60,000 mph, and the flyby and impactor craft were both traveling, relative to Temple 1, a little over 30,000 mph. The impact was the result of Temple 1 overtaking the impactor and has now flown onward. It would be several 100,000 miles away now.

Where is Tenerife? Like most Americans I'm geographically challenged, although not as much as most.
Hi John! Thanks for the welcome and the info! Tenerife is a small volcanic Island, part of the Canary islands, and is located just off the west coast of Africa. Absolutly beautiful, and I'd recommend a visit there to anyone!


So now that Temple 1 is far away in the opposite direction, what is planned for the mother ship once it has finished downloading all the data to earth?

Is there no way of meeting up with the comet next time it comes round and getting a view of the damage we've done to it?? I'd so LOVE to see the crater we've made!

antoniseb
2005-Jul-05, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Darrrius@Jul 5 2005, 02:42 PM
Is there no way of meeting up with the comet next time it comes round and getting a view of the damage we've done to it?? I'd so LOVE to see the crater we've made!
That's an interesting question. The comet will be back in the same spot in 5.5 years (roughly). The probe will pass by the same place on a recurring basis, but I don't know if it is a nice even fraction of 5.5 years. I've just asked the question on the "Contact Us" part of the Deep Impact website. I'll post here if I hear from them.

John L
2005-Jul-05, 06:17 PM
I read somewhere last week that the Deep Impact team had already begun to look at an extended mission for the flyby craft. They were still unsure whether its cameras would survive the pass through the inner coma of Temple 1, but it seems to have survived unscathed. There is supposedly another comet in range if they burn the remaining fuel, but they're supposed to send out for alternate proposals soon.

John L
2005-Jul-05, 06:21 PM
Doc O,

With most major ground and space telescopes taking snaps of the debris kicked off in the impact, and the flyby craft itself taking close-ups, I'm sure we'll get a good range of spectra. I've already read that XMM Newton saw the signature for water in the kicked up debris, and I'm sure Hubble, Swift, and all of the major ground observatories will be contributing their analysis over the next few weeks to the investigation. If your favorite isotope is present (good old strange Xenon), then I'm sure we'll hear about. :D

RUF
2005-Jul-06, 12:38 AM
I was saddened to see that EVERY news story I saw about DeepImpact on TV all talked about the "Armegeddon-like" idea of comets smashing into the Earth and how to destroy them. Granted, most reporters have very little knowledge of space-related stories (as evidenced during the Columbia accident, when most reporters couldn't understand the difference between foam insulation and heat-abating tile insulation: "insulation in insulation, right?)

Some of the scientists seemed exasperated at having to answer reporter's questions about earth-impactors instead of the real purpose of the mission.

Perhaps a better name for the mission could have been found, avoiding the "impact" moniker altogether. Too bad so few understand the true purpose of the mission.

Jakenorrish
2005-Jul-06, 08:11 AM
Like most Americans I'm geographically challenged, although not as much as most.

For the record JohnL Americans tend not to be geographically challenged its just you all think that the US is the centre of the universe! :P

(If that doesn't get me a telling off from a moderator I don't know what will!)

I'm impressed with each of the photos as they are coming through. The surface of the comet looks rather loose. Would this be about right?

Darrrius
2005-Jul-06, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb@Jul 5 2005, 02:56 PM

That's an interesting question. The comet will be back in the same spot in 5.5 years (roughly). The probe will pass by the same place on a recurring basis, but I don't know if it is a nice even fraction of 5.5 years. I've just asked the question on the "Contact Us" part of the Deep Impact website. I'll post here if I hear from them.
Thanks Anton! Let us know what they say.

John L
2005-Jul-06, 01:43 PM
Jakenorrish,

That's true only because we are the center of the universe!!! :P

Actually, its because the US school systems have been dumbed down so much over the last 25 years (God forbid we hurt a child's self-esteem by expecting them to actually know things!!!) that geography is rarely ever taught. Kids today think they're learning it, but today's courses in it are very limited and hardly cover any of the historical basis for the current country borders.

RUF
2005-Jul-06, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by John L@Jul 6 2005, 01:43 PM
Actually, its because the US school systems have been dumbed down so much over the last 25 years (God forbid we hurt a child's self-esteem by expecting them to actually know things!!!) that geography is rarely ever taught.
Or history...or civics....or government...or (strangley enough) english! :(

om@umr.edu
2005-Jul-06, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by John L@Jul 5 2005, 06:21 PM
With most major ground and space telescopes taking snaps of the debris kicked off in the impact, and the flyby craft itself taking close-ups, I'm sure we'll get a good range of spectra. I've already read that XMM Newton saw the signature for water in the kicked up debris, and I'm sure Hubble, Swift, and all of the major ground observatories will be contributing their analysis over the next few weeks to the investigation. If your favorite isotope is present (good old strange Xenon), then I'm sure we'll hear about. :D
Hi, John L.

I doubt if there will be any information on the abundances of xenon isotopes.

But I would be happy to see some estimates of the relative amounts of:

a.) Hydrocarbons

b.) Ammonia

c.) Water, and

d.) Rocky Material

Please let us know if that information is, or will be, available from the Deep Impact mission.

Thanks,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

antoniseb
2005-Jul-06, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by om@umr.edu@Jul 6 2005, 05:47 PM
I doubt if there will be any information on the abundances of xenon isotopes.
I agree. It is possible that there will be some low resolution data on this, but even that is doubtful. The mass fraction of the comet that is Xenon is likely to be pretty small, and the spectra of Xenon ions recombining is apt to be swamped by many other more abundant species.

TwAgIssmuDe
2005-Jul-06, 11:56 PM
I'm just happy that the deep space impact went on without flaud, I am eagerly awaiting the results of the accomplishme.
This has to be one of the most challenging missions antepted, but this is still one step further in our understanding of the solarsystem...

Jakenorrish
2005-Jul-07, 08:26 AM
The latest news seems to be the first minor glitch in the mission. It looks like the chance to directly observe the crater made by deep impact has gone. The 'hit' gave off such a large plume that it blocked any chance to look at the dimensions etc. It will be possible to indirectly measure it though. Not quite sure how this will work any ideas?

antoniseb
2005-Jul-07, 10:11 AM
Originally posted by Jakenorrish@Jul 7 2005, 08:26 AM
It will be possible to indirectly measure it though. Not quite sure how this will work any ideas?
Look at the MRI movie. The shadow of the plume (and therefore its shape and size) are easily seen. As to what was exposed, the comet has been outgassing much more than usual since the hit, and so an analysis of that material will tell us more about the interior.

Nick4
2005-Jul-26, 03:55 AM
This is one is the greatest things i think we have done sence landing on the moon. other than puting two robots on mars.

soloh
2005-Aug-05, 01:32 AM
who said space exploration is not one of the greatest thing to happen to mankind? BRAVO NASA! i wish i was part of your crew(yeah i really do)...Tempel + deep impact was a beaut :D