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October 2003
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Newsletter Archive

Deep News
Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission
Issue 4
October 2003

Are you seeing double?
If you have gotten two transmissions of our newsletter, please know that we are hard at work to solve the situation. Thanks for your patience.

Welcome to the growing group of Deep Impact followers who signed up to hear the most current news about the mission that will make a football stadium-sized crater deep inside a comet. For more information on the Deep Impact mission, visit:

Science Update with Principal Investigator, Mike A'Hearn
Read Dr. A'Hearn's thoughts about the Deep Impact mission and events taking place this Fall.

Teachers help plan Deep Impact encounter activities for students
The July 2005 impact with Comet Tempel 1 is nearly two years away but we are already at work with a group of teachers, trained to track the comet in Hawaii where the collision will be clearly seen. These women will combine education and astronomy to bring their students a special encounter experience. In coming months, they will share their plans with other teachers who may want to do the same. Meet these wonderful educators at

Are you puzzled? Would you like to be? Check out our comet crossword and word search puzzles. What a great way to learn about comets! We'll add more in the future.

One good turn deserves another.
Check out this interactive animation of both the impactor and flyby spacecraft from all sides. Our team at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp designed it.

Educators: Role Play some of the tough decisions that the project team had to make.
Should the team put additional, commercial cameras on their spacecraft? What are the risks? What are the benefits? What has to be taken into consideration? What will your students decide? See our new High Power Activity module designed by McREL.

How fast is fast? Can you figure it out? Calling all math buffs.
Math is extremely important for designing, building and flying a spacecraft. Then you add meeting and colliding with a comet. Whew! Get out your pencils and paper and see if you can answer the question: How fast will the impactor be moving when it hits Comet Tempel 1? Educators, take a look at this one for your students.

Questions from you: How do you get all the data from the spacecraft back to Earth?
Both the flyby and the impactor spacecraft will gather images and other data as they observe the comet - but what good is that if we don't get it back to Earth? That's why the huge white antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) are so important. They are positioned about 120 degrees apart around the world in: Spain, Australia and in California, USA. From there, they communicate with and listen to all our spacecraft. Not only will these antennas receive data, but they will send it on for distribution to our scientists and engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Maryland and Cornell University. In addition to collecting data, these dish-like structures serve as the communication path between the Deep Impact team on Earth giving instructions, and the spacecraft replying back to the team. It's through this two-way communication that the team can confirm the health of the spacecraft and give any changes needed in its flight. The DSN will be even more important in the 24 hours that the impactor aims at and hits the comet. So much data will be coming down for the 14 minutes of primary science that the team will actually time the collision to make sure they have overlapping coverage from 70-meter dishes in two locations in the world. This makes the DSN a truly important partner to the Deep Impact project. The next time you think of spacecraft in space - remember the Deep Space Network (

Did you see our past Deep News Issues?
Visit to catch up on exciting past news from the Deep Impact mission.

The Deep Impact mission is a partnership among the University of Maryland (UMD), the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp (BATC). Deep Impact is a NASA Discovery mission, eighth in a series of low-cost, highly focused space science investigations. See or our mirror site at

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Last Updated: 28 Jun 2010