NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Deep Impact. Computer artwork of the Deep Impact impactor (upper centre) hitting the surface of comet 9P/Tempel 1. Watching is the Deep Impact flyby probe (centre right). The 360 kilogram impactor successfully struck the nucleus of the comet at over 10 kilometres per second on 4 July 2005. The probe 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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