Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

NASA space probe to slam into comet July 4

Filed under
Sci/Tech

NASA's Deep Impact probe is scheduled to lob a big copper "bullet" into a comet on July 4 to look into the heart of this remnant from the formation of our solar system, scientists said on Thursday.

Impact is expected at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT) on U.S. Independence Day.

About a day before the collision, the Deep Impact craft will send a 317-pound (144 kg) copper-fortified impactor toward comet Tempel 1, which will be about 83 million miles from Earth.
The impactor will steer itself toward the comet and the Deep Impact craft will pass about 310 miles away from it and watch the smash-up, the scientists said at a briefing.

Rick Grammier, the project manager for the mission, called this maneuver "extremely challenging."

"It's a bullet trying to hit a second bullet with a third bullet, in the right place at the right time, watching the first two bullets and gathering the scientific data from that impact," Grammier said.

The Deep Impact mission is designed to offer a look under the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged.

Astronomers do not know what kind of impact they will see when the impactor hits: the crater produced on the comet could range in size from a large house to the size of a football stadium. Either way, it will not appreciably change the comet's path.

The crash is expected to eject a spray of ice and dust from the comet's surface and reveal the material beneath it on this Manhattan-sized space rock. At that point, the Deep Impact craft will have about 13 minutes to capture images and data before it weathers what astronomers expect will be a blizzard of particles thrown out of the nucleus of the comet.

There are cameras aboard the impactor and the main craft, and the crash will also be observed by the Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes in addition to telescopes on Earth.

Because scientists do not know how bright the impact will be, they can't say whether backyard astronomers will be able to see it. But those with the best chance are those in the western United States and possibly New Zealand.

More information and images are available online at http:/www.nasa.gov/deepimpact.

© Reuters 2005.

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat News

Development News: LLVM, New Releases, and GCC

PulseAudio 10 and Virtual GPU in Linux

  • PulseAudio 10 Coming Soon, Using Memfd Shared Memory By Default
    It's been a half year since the debut of PulseAudio 9.0 while the release of PulseAudio 10 is coming soon. PulseAudio 9.99.1 development release was tagged earlier this month, then usually after x.99.2 marks the official release, so it won't be much longer now before seeing PulseAudio 10.0 begin to appear in Linux distributions.
  • Experimenting With Virtual GPU Support On Linux 4.10 + Libvirt
    With the Linux 4.10 kernel having initial but limited Intel Graphics Virtualization Tech support, you can begin playing with the experimental virtual GPU support using the upstream kernel and libvirt.

Licensing FUD and Licensing Advice

  • On the Law and Your Open Source License [Ed: Black Duck is just a parasite selling proprietary software by bashing FOSS]
    "Looking back five or ten years, companies managing open source risk were squarely focused on license risk associated with complying with open source licenses," notes a report from Black Duck Software. Fast-forward to today, and the rules and processes surrounding open source licensing are more complex than ever.
  • Explaining the source code requirement in AGPLv3
    This condition was intended to apply mainly to what would now be considered SaaS deployments, although the reach of "interacting remotely through a computer network" should perhaps be read to cover situations going beyond conventional SaaS. The objective was to close a perceived loophole in the ordinary GPL in environments where users make use of functionality provided as a web service, but no distribution of the code providing the functionality occurs. Hence, Section 13 provides an additional source code disclosure requirement beyond the object code distribution triggered requirement contained in GPLv2 Section 3 and GPLv3 and AGPLv3 Section 6.