Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Nasa probe strikes Comet Tempel 1

Filed under
Sci/Tech

The washing machine-sized "impactor" collided with Comet Tempel 1 at a relative speed of 37,000km/h, throwing up a huge plume of icy debris.

The probe's mothership, the Deep Impact spacecraft, watched the event from a safe distance, sending images to Earth.
"We hit it just exactly where we wanted to," said an ecstatic Dr Don Yeomans, a Nasa mission scientist.

"The impact was bigger than I expected, and bigger than most of us expected. We've got all the data we could possibly ask for."

Comets - giant "dirty snowballs", as some have called them - are believed to contain materials that have remained largely unchanged since the formation of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.

Scientists hope that by getting "under the skin" of Comet Tempel 1, they can gain new information on the Solar System's original composition and perhaps even how life emerged in our corner of the Universe.

"We are in the business of opening new frontiers in the exploration of space. When we analyse the data, we will have a whole new insight into the Universe."

The collision occurred at just after 0550 GMT at a distance of about 133 million km from Earth.

"Before we knew so little about the comet nucleus; we had little idea of what the surface looked like."

"It was like mosquito hitting a 747. What we've found is that the mosquito didn't splat on the surface, it's actually gone through the windscreen."

It will take a few days for all the data from Deep Impact's observations to download, and scientists will then spend several months interpreting it.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

U.S. Moodle Conference To Focus on Open Source in Education

The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota will be hosting a Moodle conference sponsored by the main organization behind the Moodle project. "MoodleMoot US" will run Aug. 4-6 in Minneapolis and feature Moodle founder Martin Dougiamas as well as speakers from higher ed and K-12 sharing how they use open source tools, including the Moodle open source course management system, in education. Read more Also: Open source + big data = Apache: Big Data

Red Hat: Top 3 cloud barriers for NZ businesses

The Red Hat Cloud Adoption survey also revealed that many companies fear their applications won’t be suitable for deployment into IaaS or PaaS. Read more Also: Tech bubble will end badly: Red Hat CEO

The real road to democracy: how open source is sparking a revolution in enterprise

Forget the dotcom bubble burst of the noughties; never before has the promise of a digital economy ranked so highly in the global marketplace. Having faced significant downturns over the last decade or so, many economies – the UK, Portugal and Iceland, to name a few – have spawned a new wave of digital entrepreneurs. Those who perhaps found themselves out of a job, or facing unprecedented levels of competition for limited employment opportunities after education, have created their own jobs and companies, bringing new found energy and increased competitiveness into the enterprise sector. Read more

ALT Linux 7.0.5 Arrives with Active Directory Support and Linux Kernel 3.14.41 LTS

Andrei Cherepanov had the great pleasure of informing us about the immediate availability for download of the fifth maintenance release of the Russian ALT Linux 7.0 operating system. Read more