On July 4, 2005, the Deep Impact mission impacted the surface
of comet Tempel 1.
The spacecraft will study the crater formation process and examine
the subsurface structure of one of the solar system's most primitive
objects, a remnant from the outer solar system formation process.
The Deep Impact spacecraft was launched on January 12, 2005
The mission hardware consists of a flyby spacecraft and a smart
impactor. The impactor is separated from the flyby spacecraft 24 hours
prior to its impact on the surface of the comet. The 360-kg
copper impactor has an active guidance system that steers it to impact
on the sunlit side of the comet surface at a relative velocity of
10 km/s. Prior to its collision with the comet, the impactor also provides
close-up images of the comet's surface. Two visible imaging systems will
record the impact events and the subsurface cometary structure while the
near IR imaging spectrometer will determine the composition of the
Earth-based and Earth orbital
measurements will also be conducted.
The impactor portion of the Deep Impact spacecraft successfully collided with comet Tempel 1
on July 4, 2005 and imaging cameras
onboard both the impactor and the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft provided detailed
images of the comet's surface. The flyby spacecraft will continue on to flyby comet Hartley 2 on
November 4, 2010.
The Deep Impact mission is under the direction of the principal investigator,
Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland. The spacecraft is being
built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and managed at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Look here for additional information on the Deep Impact Mission: