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    A "Smashing Success!" Comet "Deep Impact" Mission Accomplished; Coverage Is Webcast Worldwide

    (July 4, 2005) -- With providing a live link to NASA webcast coverage, NASA's historic "Deep Impact" mission into an onrushing comet with a washing-machine sized, copper fortified spacecraft occurred at 10:52 p.m. PDT July 3. The director of NASA's Solar System Division called the result a "smashing success."

    Deep Impact
    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

    The image above, taken from Deep Impact's flyby spacecraft, shows the impactor colliding with comet Tempel 1 (roughly the size of a city) after 172 days and 268 million miles of space travel. Official word of the impact came five minutes afterward...when the first image from a flyby spacecraft's medium resolution camera downloaded onto computer screens of the mission's science team showing signs of a high-speed impact.

    Deep Impact
    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

    This image shows the initial ejecta that resulted when NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with the comet. It was taken by the flyby spacecraft's medium-resolution camera 16 seconds after impact. It's been lightened by us to bring out details.

    Deep Impact mission team members were ecstatic at the successful encounter.

    "The image clearly shows a spectacular impact," said Deep Impact principal investigator Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park. "With this much data we have a long night ahead of us, but that is what we were hoping for. There is so much here it is difficult to know where to begin."

    Deep Impact
    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Andy Dantzler, director of NASA's Solar System Division said, "Tomorrow and in the days ahead we will know a lot more about the origins of our solar system."

    The impactor vaporized itself in the 6.3 miles per second collision with the comet while the flyby spacecraft monitored events, collected and downlinked data.

    NASA said in an earlier written release that the goal of the "Deep Impact mission was to provide a glimpse beneath the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged. Mission scientists expect the project will answer basic questions about the formation of the solar system, by offering a better look at the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers known as comets."

    For further info on the Deep Impact comet encounter: NASA Deep Impact Mission.

    JPL also has additional information on the Deep Impact mission at

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