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

Ubuntu 14.10 Released, openSUSE GNOME Peek, and Debian Multimedia

ubuntuThe release of Ubuntu 14.10, codenamed Utopic Unicorn, was the big news today. But in other news, Kostas Koudaras has a sneak peek of GNOME in upcoming openSUSE 13.2 and Alessio Treglia shared some bits on Debian 8.0 multimedia. Miguel de Icaza announces Mono for the Unreal Engine and, finally, Erich Schubert says avoiding systemd isn't hard at all. Read more

eBay joins open-source community with ultra-fast OLAP engine for Hadoop

Like arch-rival Amazon.com, the soon-to-split eBay Inc. is something of an oddity in that it hasn’t historically been a big contributor to the open-source community. But the e-commerce pioneer hopes to change that with the release of the source-code for a homegrown online analytics processing (OLAP) engine that promises to speed up Hadoop while also making it more accessible to everyday enterprise users. Read more

DHS report makes recommendations for greater open source software use in government

A report commissioned by the Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate say barriers to using and developing open source software must be addressed as IT budgets across government continue to tighten. Read more

Calculate Linux Provides Consistency by Design

Calculate Linux has a rather interesting strategy for desktop environments. It is characterized by two flavors with the same look and feel. That does not mean that the inherent functionality of the KDE and Xfce desktops are compromised. Rather, the Calculate Linux developers did what you seldom see within a Linux distribution with more than one desktop option: They unified the design. Read more