31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 25. Science and Technology of Future Space Missions II
Special Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Tuesday, October 12, 1999, 10:30am-12:00noon, Sala Kursaal

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[25.08] Deep Impact (Invited)

M. F. A'Hearn (University of Maryland), Deep Impact Project Team

Deep Impact has recently been selected by NASA as Discovery Mission #8. The scientific goals of the mission are to understand the relationship between the deeply buried, perhaps pristine material in the interior of a cometary nucleus to the evolved material on the surface and to learn about the structural properties of the material from the surface to as deep as we can reach.

Our approach is to simulate a meteorite impact for which we know all the relevant parameters of the impactor and can therefore study just the properties of the target. We will deliver a half ton cylinder, of mostly copper, at 10.2 km/s to the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel 1. Launch is nominally on 1 January 2004 and impact on 4 July 2005.

For a baseline model of a cometary nucleus, this will excavate a crater of 120m diameter and 28m depth, which will take 200 seconds to form. The impactor will transmit close-up images of the nucleus until the time of impact. The flyby spacecraft will take optical images and near-IR spectra of the nucleus, the crater formation process, the resultant crater and ejecta, and any induced outgassing. Observations from Earth (both ground-based and Earth-orbital) will provide significant additional information.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.ss.astro.umd.edu/deepimpact/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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