Deep impact impactor being built

Deep impact impactor being built

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Deep Impact. Deep Impact impactor being built at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colorado, USA. This 360 kilogram impactor successfully struck the nucleus of the comet 9P/Tempel 1 at over 10 kilometres per second on 4 July 2005. A flyby probe launched with the impactor collected pictures and data from the impact. Material ejected from the impact indicated that under the surface of the comet is microscopic dust, water and carbon dioxide ice and hydrocarbons. Data collected has also shown that the comet is held together by gravitational forces. Comets are relics from the beginning of the solar system and as such can provide information on its history and formation.

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