DEEP NEWS - Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission Issue 1 - July 2003

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Welcome to the nearly 7,000 of you who have told us you want to know more about the Deep Impact mission. We are currently in Phase C/D. During this 34-month period, the twin spacecraft - the projectile impactor and the observing flyby spacecraft, and their science instruments are being built and the software that will drive them is being designed and tested. All factors will work together to make this the first mission to look deep beneath the surface of a comet. For more about the mission, visit the Deep Impact web site at or

MISSION UPDATE WITH PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DR. MIKE A'HEARN For the latest on the Deep Impact mission, take a look at the PI's update. Dr. Mike A'Hearn writes to tell us about the current status of the mission, the construction of both spacecraft and our science team's most recent research.

SEND YOUR NAME TO A COMET! If you haven't joined the over 200,000 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.

WHAT A BLAST! The science team continues to develop tools for visualizing and analyzing the impact. Jim Richardson, a graduate student working with Prof. Jay Melosh, has developed a useful tool that will allow us to vary the orientation of a simulated impact until we can reproduce our observations. Ultimately, these simulations will be used to understand the physical processes that occur in the cometary nucleus based on theories of hypervelocity impacts into solid bodies. We have posted two of these simulations on the web page for your viewing. The animations show the field of view of the two cameras.

HEY KIDS - COOL OFF WITH AN EDIBLE COMET! Looking for a way to cool down on those hot summer afternoons? Make a Comet Model and Eat it! This is an activity the whole family can do together. Make an ice cream comet and add your own "cometary candy debris." Science never tasted so good!

DID YOU KNOW? COOL FACT! Did you know that the Deep Impact spacecraft won't be the only "observer" during our encounter with Comet Tempel 1 on July 4th, 2005? While the flyby spacecraft and impactor do their job, an international group of professional and amateur astronomers will watch the "cometary fireworks" from Earth. What are they doing to gear up for this incredible event? Well, they've been watching Comet Tempel 1 since the year 2000. To see some of their images visit our Small Telescope Science Program web site and take a look at

QUESTIONS FROM YOU: WILL THE IMPACT KNOCK THE COMET OFF ITS PATH AND SEND IT SOMEWHERE ELSE? No. You can think of the impactor hitting the comet in the same way as a pebble hitting the side of an 18- wheeler. In both cases, there is a small effect in terms of adding energy to the target and subtracting it from the projectile, but again, in both cases, the impacts are not strong enough to knock the truck or the comet off their course.

MISSION BRAIN TWISTER: The flyby spacecraft has a solar panel to take in the Sun's energy and turn it into power for the spacecraft. The early concept for the solar panel was that it be one piece. During the design phase, the engineers decided they needed a larger panel to provide enough energy for the entire spacecraft. Now the spacecraft has two panels that are hinged. Why was the hinge necessary?

EVERYBODY'S TALKING... Important to our Deep Impact outreach team are our master educators (Solar System Educator Program) and our ambassadors to the public (Solar System Ambassadors). These people are specially trained in the Deep Impact mission and its activities. If you are interested in having an SSEP educator give a workshop in your area, or you think you might want an Ambassador to speak at a public event, go to:

and contact those organizations directly, or contact us at:

CALLING ALL GIRL SCOUTS! Did you know that Deep Impact is part of a new NASA partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA? Leader trainers from across the country are excited about the Deep Impact activities to make ice cream comets and comet models out of recyclable materials. For a large event, you can even earn the NASA solar system patch for your Scouts. Ask your council to check into schedules for NASA trainings this year. Or, you can go to our web site activities and try them yourself:

Some Scout leaders and troops are already planning to throw community star parties in their area the night of the Deep Impact encounter, July 4th, 2005. You could be one of them. Talk to your local observatory, university or library about a community partnership with your troop or council and contact us to let us know your plans at:

MAKE A DEEP IMPACT FOR SOMEONE ELSE Send this issue of Deep News to your friends and tell them they can register to get it for themselves at:

As we get closer to launch you'll hear about special opportunities and meet more of the team who are responsible for putting this awesome mission into space.

Deep News features information about the mission, the Deep Impact web site and our products and special programs. 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 & Technology Corp. Deep Impact is a NASA Discovery mission, eighth in a series of low-cost, highly focused space science investigations. Deep Impact offers an extensive outreach program in partnership with other comet and asteroid missions and institutions to benefit the public, educational and scientific communities.

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