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January 2004
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Newsletter Archive

Deep News
Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission
Issue 7
January 2004

Welcome to almost 13,000 of you who have joined our community to get updates on Deep Impact. We are now less than one year from launch and less than 18 months from the time when one of our spacecraft will release a second impactor spacecraft and observe it making a crater the size of a football stadium into Comet Tempel 1. Check out your last chance to enter your name for a ride into that crater. To find out how to sign up - read on!

Send Your Name to a Comet - Last chance to send your name
The Deep Impact project will close our passenger list for a one-way trip to Comet Tempel 1 at midnight Saturday January 31, 2004. Make sure your name is on board and tell all your friends about it through our group email. Send Your Name to a Comet at:
(NOTE: This campaign was closed in January 2004.)

Update from Principal Investigator Mike A'Hearn
Our sister Discovery mission, Stardust is the first to travel to a comet, fly through its coma and collect samples of cometary dust. On January 2, 2004 the Stardust spacecraft successfully collected samples from Comet Wild 2 and it is now heading home to Earth for its scheduled return January 2006. A stunning set of 72 images and additional data collected at the time of encounter provided important information for the stardust science team. The results are also of great interest to the Deep Impact team. Find out how our Principal Investigator, Mike A'Hearn relates Stardust lessons learned to our research on the Deep Impact mission.

Up Close and Personal - Felicia Sanders
She wanted to be a nurse but the sight of blood made her dizzy. Fortunately, she has a strong stomach for spacecraft telemetry. Meet Felicia Sanders, our Deep Impact Ground Systems Telemetry Engineer.

Questions from you - How will you know the time of impact?

Q: How precisely will you know the time of impact and how soon will you know it?

A: Sixty days from the impact, we will know the impact time within 2 minutes. In late June 2005, we should know within 1 minute. Two or three days from the impact (July 2/3, 2005) we will know within 30 seconds. Five minutes away from impact we will know within 2.7 seconds. The web site will be updated with the time of impact, as the event gets closer. Imagine the excitement!

Hey Kids - Can you answer this?
See how many of the following questions you can answer about our mission. The answers are somewhere on the Deep Impact site and if you think hard, you'll know where to look. If you get half of them right, you're doing pretty well, with seven you are on track and if you get 100 % - you're a true Deep Impact Expert. Hint: Our past newsletters are a good place to start, but don't stop there. Correct answers will be in our newsletter next month.

  1. Why is the flyby spacecraft solar panel hinged and in two parts?
  2. If we need as heavy an impactor as possible to make a crater in a comet, why did we recently need to remove some weight from the impactor?
  3. What is the orbital period for our target Comet Tempel 1?
  4. Between the impactor and the flyby spacecraft, how many instruments will take visual images?
  5. How did the mission get the name Deep Impact?
  6. How large do we think Comet Tempel 1 is?
  7. What is a Whipple shield and what does it do?
  8. Where is the spacecraft being built?
  9. What is a Discovery Mission?

Educators - Looking for math activities?
Educators across the country have been putting our Mission Challenge activities to work in their upper middle and high school math classes. Turn your class into mission engineers as they solve these real life situations from the Deep Impact mission.

DIPSTIC - Funny name - Fantastic program.
We know. It's a funny name but it stands for a program that allowed students to build a CCD camera and they will use it to make observations from telescopes on Earth both before and after our collision with Comet Tempel 1. Find out more about it:

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