National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Return to Solar System Exploration
Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr iTunes
Follow Us
February 2004
Fact Sheet  |  Deep News  |  Biographies  |  What Did We Hope to See?  |  Timeline
Quick Facts  |  Mission Update  |  How Deep Impact Got Its Name 


Newsletter Archive

Deep News
Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission
Issue 8
February 2004

Welcome to the latest news for Deep Impact, the mission that will make a crater the size of a football stadium in a comet called 9P Tempel 1. These first ever views beneath the surface of a comet will be sent back to Earth in near real time making our encounter one of the most exciting events in space exploration history. Plan now to be watching for television and web coverage on July 4, 2005. In the meantime, there are lots of things happening on the project and we're letting you know about them below. For more information on the Deep Impact mission, visit:

Questions from you:
Why did you close the Send Your Name campaign so early?

At end of day, January 31st 2004, the Deep Impact outreach team closed our name collection campaign - Send Your Name to a Comet! There's an important reason why we did it then. That reason comes from our dedicated engineering team and their experience with CD's and other attachments to spacecraft. The team wants to make sure that the CD bearing your names will be safely sealed and attached to the impactor for environmental testing. Sending the CD through this testing in its exact placement and condition assures the team that the sealant will not allow any outgassing from the CD that would interfere with any spacecraft instruments. Although we know that the CD will be vaporized along with the impactor upon collision with the comet, it is still important that we send it all the way to the comet so that you can make a deep impact!

Update from Principal Investigator Mike A'Hearn
This month, Principal Investigator Mike A'Hearn gives us the latest word about the state of the Deep Impact spacecraft computers.

Meet Don Hampton - A System's Engineer on Deep Impact
Don is into instruments - both scientific and musical. By day, he works for Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. where he designed and built instruments for both spacecraft to collect data during our encounter with Comet Tempel 1. In his free time, he writes music and performs with multiple groups. What kind of music? Jazz to grunge rock!

Brain Twister - Sure, observe from space - but from Earth?
The Deep Impact mission is unique in that we plan extensive observations from Earth as part of our in space experiment to excavate a crater in Comet Tempel 1.

  1. What are some good reasons to use Earth-based observatories for observing the impact?
  2. What are some reasons that the Deep Impact mission would not want to depend on Earth-based observations?

Consider these clues:

  1. The spacecraft carries visible imaging cameras and an infrared spectrometer.
  2. The spacecraft will fly by the comet at a closest distance of 500km.
  3. Consider the location of the observatories with respect to the comet.
  4. What conditions exist on Earth that we know don't occur in space?

For the answers, visit:

Hey - Can you answer this? - Answers from January
How well did you do searching the Deep Impact web site for clues to last month's "Can You Answer This?" Check out the answers at: If you didn't get the chance to play, you may want to start with the January game at:

If you played and found that you are an expert, try our February game:

  1. Why are comets visible?
  2. What is the difference among the tasks for the three imaging instruments on the Deep Impact mission? The HRI, MRI and ITS?
  3. A mission generally has a launch period of several days to launch because certain circumstances can put a hold on a launch. Name 6 circumstances you think might affect a launch.
  4. Why don't we know the orbital period of all comets?
  5. Name 4 elements we know exist in comets.
  6. What causes a comet tail to form?
  7. Is there a "good" spot on the comet for the impactor to hit?
  8. What is the role of the Principal Investigator in a Discovery mission?
  9. Why is understanding math important on a space mission?

Before you go looking for a quiz, take a look at our Educator's page filled with lots of comet background information and hands-on activities at: Once your students know more about comets and the Deep Impact mission, send them on a treasure hunt and have them try our "Can You Answer This?" quiz for this month and last at:

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

Newsletter Archive

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 28 Jun 2010