A Boeing Delta II launch vehicle carrying the Deep Impact spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 12, 2005.
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Image courtesy NASA.
Deep Impact Launch
News story originally written on January 14, 2005
NASA launched the Deep Impact space
mission at 1:47 PM Eastern Time on January
12, 2005. Deep Impact was lifted into space from the Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida aboard a Delta II launch vehicle. The spacecraft will study
the comet Temple 1.
Deep Impact will rendezvous with the comet on July 4, 2005. The spacecraft
consists of two parts: a "fly-by" section and an impactor that will crash into
the comet. The impactor is made of copper, is about one meter (three
feet) across, and has a mass of 370 kg (820lbs). It is expected to blast a
crater the size of a football stadium and between two and fourteen stories
deep into the comet. The fly-by craft will take measurements and pictures of
the comet before, during, and after the collision. Scientists hope to learn
more about the composition and interior of the comet from these observations.
Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867 by Ernst Tempel. It orbits the Sun once
every 5.5 years.
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