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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.

Last modified January 14, 2005 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA