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April 2004
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Newsletter Archive

Deep News
Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission
Issue 10
April 2004

Deep News is a monthly update on the Deep Impact mission - the first mission to look deep inside a comet. As the project moves closer to launch at Cape Canaveral in December of this year, you will get the chance to follow testing of the spacecraft and its move to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To learn more about the Deep Impact mission, visit:

Picture This! Flyby and Impactor Together
On April 7th, the flyby spacecraft and its sister spacecraft, the impactor were joined or "stacked" at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado. Both spacecraft are moving into environmental testing this month.
Principal Investigator, Dr. Mike A'Hearn tells us about environmental testing in the PI Update below.

PI Update: Environmental Testing and Recent Observations of Tempel 1
This month, Principal Investigator, Dr. Mike A'Hearn tells us about the environmental testing that both the flyby and impactor spacecraft will undergo and explain why that testing is critical to assuring a successful flight to Comet Tempel 1. He also reports on recent observations of Tempel 1 with the Spitzer Space Observatory.

Meet Jean Hamai
It might seem like teaching math, kite surfing and joining the Iron Man Triathlon would not leave Jean enough time to look at the stars but this Hawaiian resident will be making her own deep impact during our encounter with Comet Tempel 1. Jean and her students will be observing the impact and its aftermath through a telescope for which she was specially trained.

Learn more about Jean and about her task during the Deep Impact encounter at:

Build your own Deep Impact model - Now online
This month, we introduce our Deep Impact paper models. Depending on the level of detail you would like to have, we provide three options. Would you like to build the impactor, the basic model or the very detailed model? It's up to you. Get some card stock for the printing and you're set. Hang it in your room or office and make your own comet to go with it.

Questions from you - What do we expect to find inside the comet?
This goes back to the purpose of the mission - Why are we going to a comet and excavating a crater? We believe that the surface of a comet nucleus has evolved since the beginning of the solar system. We expect to find fresh, unprocessed material beneath the surface that represents the starting composition of the outer solar system 4.5 billion years ago. One of the species that we hope to find is CO2 ice, commonly called dry ice. On Earth dry ice sublimates into a gas. In the cold outer regions of the solar system, it persists as a solid. If we see CO2, it will tell us how cold the outer parts of the solar system were during formation. We will measure the spectral signatures of the surface of the comet and compare it to the interior. By analyzing the differences, we expect to understand the evolution process of comets due to exposure to the sun and the space environment.

We don't know what else we will see, but we sure are curious and can't wait to find out!

Hey Kids, a new game - The Deep Impact Fun Facts Quiz
If you've already solved all our puzzles and played our word search games, try our Fun Facts Quiz. This multiple-choice game will give you the chance to learn about Deep Impact and will keep you laughing at the same time.

Can You Answer This?
Try game 4 of Can You Answer This? Go on a treasure hunt through the Deep Impact web site to see if you can find the answers.

Going deeper into Deep Impact - The Science Objectives
This month, we feature part two of guest writer, Ray Brown's article on the science objectives for the Deep Impact mission. If you didn't see Part 1 last month, first take a look at Ray's overview of the mission and comets just to get up to speed:

This month, we go deeper into the mission learning about how the project team will accomplish the science objectives.

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