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Deep News
Newsletter for the Deep Impact mission
Issue 30
January/February 2006

It's amazing that in the world of space exploration, in which spacecraft sometimes take years to reach a destination, the Deep Impact mission journeyed through funding, design, building, launch, encounter, and this month - the release of findings from the science team. With more study still to come, Deep Impact was proven to be a tightly scheduled mission with spectacular results. You joined us somewhere along the way getting our monthly updates and we hope you enjoyed the ride. This issue is the last of our monthly updates and in the future, we will contact you with shorter news about Deep Impact's science and technology. If for some reason you are just joining us take a look at what you have missed on our web sites:

Picture This - Water, Water Everywhere!
Well, perhaps not everywhere - but results from the IR spectrometer aboard the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft show that water ice exists on only about 0.5% of the comet's surface. Take a look and see where the team found the water ice.

Mission Update: New Results from the Science Team
Results from the flyby spacecraft's IR spectrometer are shared in a summary from a paper by Co-Investigator Dr. Jessica Sunshine and the science team. Also, read Ray Brown's outline of Deep Impact findings based on a summary of telescope observations from Co-Investigator, Dr. Karen Meech and collaborators.

Summary from the Ground Observations:

Summary from the IR Spectrometer:

Technical Update from the PI - Dr. Mike A'Hearn at the University of Maryland
Principal Investigator Dr. Mike A'Hearn gives his science team a technical update on the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft after the engineering group at Jet Propulsion Laboratory communicated with it on February 10th.

Up Close and Personal: Meet Dr. Karen Meech, Deep Impact Co-Investigator
Karen knew since she was very young that she would end up working in astronomy someday and there were lots of Star Trek episodes and evenings with her father watching the sky to help confirm that decision. Meet Karen Meech.

For Educators: What Does the Moon Have to do with the Deep Impact Mission?
Well, quite a lot actually. Shortly after takeoff, the science team used the spacecraft images of the moon to check the calibrations for their instruments. Here is a Mission Challenge based on their calculations and set to national math standards. Have your students do real mission math!

Question: What was the distance from the Deep Impact spacecraft to the moon on January 16, 2005?

On January 16, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft turned its cameras back toward Earth and captured some beautiful images of our Moon. To aid in calibrating the spacecraft instruments, astronomers would like to know precisely how far Deep Impact was from the moon when this picture was taken.

Way to go, Stardust! - Return to Sender
Congratulations to the Stardust Mission for the safe and successful return of their capsule containing actual particles from comet Wild 2 on January 15, 2006. There was great excitement as their science team viewed the grid in which squares of aerogel safely cradled the first samples of cometary and interstellar dust to be returned to Earth for study. As a sister to Deep Impact, findings from both missions will bring scientists closer to answering questions about the formation of the solar system.

Planetary Society Announces the Winners of the Crater Contest
Although the precise dimensions of the crater made by the Deep Impact mission in Tempel 1 were hidden by ejecta from its nucleus, the Planetary Society was able to pick 3 winners from those whose predictions fell within the range determined by the science team. Take a look.

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

Deep Impact is a Discovery mission. For more information on the Discovery Program, visit:

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