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Deep Impact
Deep Impact (click to enlarge)

Deep Impact
Date: 5 Jul 2005

This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact's impactor spacecraft. Deep Impact's small probe was the first manmade object to collide with a comet. The image was taken by the high-resolution camera on the mission's flyby craft.

Scattered light from the collision saturated the camera's detector, creating the bright splash seen here. Linear spokes of light radiate away from the impact site, while reflected sunlight illuminates most of the comet surface. The image reveals topographic features, including ridges, scalloped edges and possibly impact craters that were formed long ago.

What Scientists/Engineers Say About This Image:

"The Tempel 1 impact made a big splash."

--Peter Jenniskens: Research Scientist, SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center

(Read More of what Peter Jenniskens has to say about this and other significant events by clicking here.)

Last Update: 1 Mar 2012 (AMB)

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

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Last Updated: 1 Apr 2014