DEEP NEWS Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission Issue 2, August 2003

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Monday, August 18, 2003

Welcome to the second issue of Deep News. July marked the Deep Impact project's two-year mark to encounter and make a crater in Comet Tempel 1. We are approximately sixteen months away from our launch at Cape Canaveral. Deep Impact is the first mission to look deep beneath the surface of a comet. For more about the mission, visit the Deep Impact web site at

SCIENCE UPDATE WITH PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DR. MIKE A'HEARN For the latest on the Deep Impact mission, take a look at our PI's Update. Dr. Mike A'Hearn writes to update us on one of the mission's major milestones.

PICTURE THIS - COOL NEW IMAGES FROM THE DEEP IMPACT MISSION Take a look at our Image Gallery for new pictures taken at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp where the flyby and impactor spacecraft are being built.

HIS JOB ON THE MISSION FOCUSES ON THE 24 HOURS BEFORE IMPACT... He's 22, in his third year with the mission and if he weren't an engineer with Deep Impact, he might be playing bass in a rock band. Meet engineer Greg Horvath.

EDUCATORS - MAKE A DEEP IMPACT IN YOUR CLASSROOMS! Since you're launching into Fall, take a look at our educational activities for elementary, middle and high school at

From modeling a comet to learning to work as a project team to make crucial decisions, your students get a peek into the world of problem solving and putting a NASA mission into space.

DID YOU KNOW? COOL FACT! The impactor spacecraft doesn't really speed toward the comet, the comet speeds toward the impactor. If the spacecraft had to actually catch a comet, we would have to take so much fuel to space that we couldn't get off the ground. So instead, the observing flyby spacecraft will cross in front of the comet 24 hours before impact and release the impactor spacecraft. The flyby spacecraft will move to a safe position to observe the impact with its high and medium resolution instruments. The impactor spacecraft will use the 24 hours to pinpoint the best location on the comet to hit when the comet catches up and collides with it. The comet will pass over the flyby observing spacecraft about 14 minutes after impact.

COMET BRAIN TWISTER: WHY COMET TEMPEL 1? Tempel 1 is the comet that best satisfied a variety of requirements when the mission team proposed. Can you guess some of the reasons this is so? Clues are: Size, rotation, orbital path, brightness, and schedule. Good luck! Go to

QUESTIONS FROM YOU: WHAT IS A WHIPPLE SHIELD? Have you ever seen a snowball fight or been in one? What you need is a shield to protect your body and your eyes as you search out your enemy. The engineering team wants to make sure that the two imaging instruments on the observing flyby spacecraft are protected against dust and debris from the tail of the comet after it passes overhead. Whipple shields (originated by Dr. Fred Whipple) are designed to shield the instruments from particles that might fly toward the instruments.

EVERYBODY'S TALKING... Our master educators from the Solar System Educator Program (SSEP) had a busy summer giving teacher workshops including Deep Impact mission information and comet activities. Dan Malerbo and Ruth Rudd just returned from New York where teachers had a chance to try some comet activities for Deep Impact. "I enjoy sharing my knowledge of space exploration with educators as well as children and the public" said Dan. To learn more about SSEP check out:

While you are there, take a look at our Solar System Ambassadors, who speak at public events. Grace Chen thrilled a crowd of amateur astronomers with Deep Impact's plans to look deep inside a comet and Greg Chermak gave a series of workshops comparing Deep Impact and the Near mission. With so many interesting ways to learn about the Deep Impact mission, you may want to look into finding or maybe even throwing an event in your area.

SEND YOUR NAME TO A COMET! If you haven't joined the over 230,000 people who have registered to have their name put on the side of the impactor that will make a huge crater in Comet Tempel 1, check out

and sign up before it's too late. Don't miss the boat - uh, or the impactor.

DID YOU SEE DEEP NEWS ISSUE #1? If you didn't, you don't know about what we might see as we approach the comet, why the Earth won't be affected by our encounter with Tempel 1 or what's new for Girl Scouts. Check out our very first issue of Deep News at

The Deep Impact mission is a partnership among the University of Maryland (UMD), the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp (BATC). Deep Impact is a NASA Discovery mission, eighth in a series of low-cost, highly focused space science investigations.

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