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ESA TV coverage of Deep Impact

Status Report From: ESA Broadcast Centre
Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2005

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On 4 July 2005 at 05:52 GMT, NASA's Deep Impact will make a 370 kg projectile collide with comet Tempel-1. A fly-by spacecraft which will have separated from the impactor on 3 July, to observe the collision from an 800 km distance. It should create a crater somewhere between the size of a house and a football stadium, for the first time enabling scientists to study the pristine matter inside a comet. As this matter dates back to the formation of our Solar System, its analysis will lead to a better understanding of the Solar System's origins.

Rosetta, ESA's comet chaser, currently en route to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, will have the best vantage point in space to observe this event. From 29 June to 14 July 2005, at a distance of about 80 million kilometres from the comet, four of Rosetta's instruments - OSIRIS, Alice, MIRO, VIRTIS-M - and its Navigation Camera will collect unique data on the composition of the comet and the evolution of coma features originating from the matter released by the impact. Rosetta's imaging system OSIRIS will provide images of the comet's nucleus which, combined with images from ground observations, should help scientists create a 3D reconstruction of the dust cloud around the comet. Rosetta's observations will contribute to the major objectives of the Deep Impact mission.

In addition to NASA's Spitzer telescope and its Chandra X-ray Observatory, the NASA/ESA Hubble telescope and ESA's XMM/Newton Observatory will observe the impact. ESA's 1-metre OGS telescope in Tenerife will be used for observations from the ground.

Also, the European Space Observatory (ESO) will direct all its seven telescopes at La Silla and Paraņal in Chile towards the event, among them the most powerful instruments on Earth.

On 4-5 July 2005, the ESA TV Service will provide extensive Deep Impact coverage. This includes expert studio comment, live rebroadcast of NASA-TV, links to observatories around the globe and to operations centres of space telescopes, updating broadcasters as the story unfolds.

ESA-TV live coverage will be split into six segments, details of which are online at http://television.esa.int/photos/DI_RO_GMT.pdf

All scheduling and transmission details are online under http://television.esa.int

Please note that all segments are transmitted on Eutelsat W1 (at different frequencies on 4 and 5 July!), and the first three segments additionally, for general public viewers, on the Astra 1G.

For more info on the Astra 1G reception, see http://television.esa.int/photos/Astra.pdf

The ESA Web Portal has established a special Website with a wealth of background information on the Deep Impact mission and its observation:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta/index.html

On 4-5 July, this Web site will be updated in real time with new information, images and details on the event.

For further information and a daily update of the transmission schedule, visit our website at http://television.esa.int. For all enquires, contact Claus Habfast, Tel +31 71 565 3838, Fax +31 71 565 6340, e-mail claus.habfast@esa.int.

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