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DEEP NEWS Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission Issue 4 - October 2003

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, October 24, 2003

image Welcome to the growing group of Deep Impact followers who signed up to hear the most current news about the mission that will make a football-sized crater deep inside a comet. For more information on the Deep Impact mission, visit: http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov
http://deepimpact.umd.edu

SCIENCE UPDATE WITH PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, MIKE A'HEARN

Read Dr. A'Hearn's thoughts about the Deep Impact mission and events taking place this Fall. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/update-200310.html

TEACHERS HELP PLAN DEEP IMPACT ENCOUNTER ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS

The July 2005 impact with Comet Tempel 1 is nearly two years away but we are already at work with a group of teachers, trained to track the comet in Hawaii where the collision will be clearly seen. These women will combine education and astronomy to bring their students a special encounter experience. In coming months, they will share their plans with other teachers who may want to do the same. Meet these wonderful educators at http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/disczone/community-TOPS.html.

ARE YOU PUZZLED? WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?

Check out our comet crossword and word search puzzles. What a great way to learn about comets! We'll add more in the future. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/disczone/braintwist.html

TELL FIVE FRIENDS. SEND YOUR NAME TO A COMET.

You may already have entered your name to go on a CD on our impactor that will put a deep crater in Comet Tempel 1. Now you can email five or more of your friends and make sure they know too. Go to our email form with all the details. You only add your friends' emails. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/sendyourname/whatis.html#email

ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER.

Check out this interactive animation of both the impactor and flyby spacecraft from all sides. Our team at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp designed it. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/mov-DImodel1.html

EDUCATORS: ROLE PLAY SOME OF THE TOUGH DECISIONS THAT THE PROJECT TEAM HAD TO MAKE.

Should the team put additional, commercial cameras on their spacecraft? What are the risks? What are the benefits? What has to be taken into consideration? What will your students decide? See our new High Power Activity module designed by McREL. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/high_power/index.html

HOW FAST IS FAST? CAN YOU FIGURE IT OUT? CALLING ALL MATH BUFFS.

Math is extremely important for designing, building and flying a spacecraft. Then you add meeting and colliding with a comet. Whew! Get out your pencils and paper and see if you can answer the question: How fast will the impactor be moving when it hits Comet Tempel 1? Educators, take a look at this one for your students. http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/disczone/challenge_vector.html

QUESTIONS FROM YOU: HOW DO YOU GET ALL THE DATA FROM THE SPACECRAFT BACK TO EARTH?

Both the flyby and the impactor spacecraft will gather images and other data as they observe the comet - but what good is that if we don't get it back to Earth? That's why the huge white antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) are so important. They are positioned about 120 degrees apart around the world in: Spain, Australia and in California, USA. From there, they communicate with and listen to all our spacecraft. Not only will these antennas receive data, but they will send it on for distribution to our scientists and engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Maryland and Cornell University. In addition to collecting data, these dish-like structures serve as the communication path between the Deep Impact team on Earth giving instructions, and the spacecraft replying back to the team. It's through this two-way communication that the team can confirm the health of the spacecraft and give any changes needed in its flight. The DSN will be even more important in the 24 hours that the impactor aims at and hits the comet. So much data will be coming down for the 14 minutes of primary science that the team will actually time the collision to make sure they have overlapping coverage from 70-meter dishes in two locations in the world. This makes the DSN a truly important partner to the Deep Impact project. The next time you think of spacecraft in space - remember the Deep Space Network (http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn).

DID YOU SEE OUR PAST DEEP NEWS ISSUES? Visit http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/newsletter/archive.html to catch up on exciting past news from the Deep Impact mission.

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. See http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov or our mirror site at http://deepimpact.umd.edu.

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