NASA Deep Impact Probe to Comet 9P/Tempel
The Deep Impact probe performed a flyby of comet 9P/Temple and had the extra feature of an impactor to create a fresh crater in order to see a little bit inside the comet. The probe took photos and did spectroscopic analysis.
The Deep Impact probe was part of the NASA Discovery program, approved in 1999 and launched in early 2005. The travel time to the comet was half a year. The impactor separated from the probe a day before and went ahead. The impactor had its own camera so that it could take close-up photos and transmit them back to the probe before impact. The impactor had a mass of 370 kg (820 pounds) and was traveling at 10.3 km/sec (6 miles per second) when it impacted the comet. The probe flew by just a minute later at a safe distance of 500 km. Earth based and Earth orbiting telescopes were also watching, as well as the European comet probe Rosetta which was 80 million miles away but had additional spectroscopic equipment.
The impact caused the comet to brighten to about 6 times its normal brightness. However, the impact kicked up a lot more dust than expected so that the probe could not see the impact site as it flew by. One of the results of the experiment was that the comet was found to be a lot dustier than expected. Included in the material blown off was an estimated 5 million kilograms of water but also around 10 to 25 million kilograms of dust. The dust was also extremely fine and powdery. The crater continued to outgas for 13 days, with a peak in the outgassing after 5 days.
Six years later, in 2011, another NASA probe, the Stardust spacecraft, flew by comet 9P/Tempel and observed that the crater created by the impactor was about 150 meters wide and 30 meters deep.
After Deep Impact completed its impact and flyby in 2005, an extended mission was approved to do a flyby of another comet, whereby the probe would fly past Earth for a gravity assist. (The extended mission was called EPOXI, for Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation, as the probes equipment was useful for some other astronomical observations as well.)
The original target for the next rendezvous was Comet Boethin. However, while Deep Impact was still en route to Earth, astronomers could no longer find Comet Boethin, which means it probably broke up and would become a difficult mission with considerable risk of failure. Therefore, a different target was settled upon, whereby Deep Impact would target Comet 103P/Hartley aka Hartley 2, which would take 2 years longer than Comet Boethin would have taken.
Deep Impact did a flyby within 700 km of Comet Boethin in late 2010, taking good photos which showed several bright gas jets, and collecting spectroscopic data.
The Deep Impact mission was extended again to fly by a third target in the year 2020, the asteroid 2002GT.
PERMANENT.com > Asteroids, Near Earth Objects (NEO) > Probes to Asteroids and NEOs > Deep Impact (Comet)
PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?
There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.
The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.
Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.
This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.
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