AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 11 Instrumentation, Space Missions
Poster, Monday, May 31, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Ballroom

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[11.08] The NASA Deep Impact Mission Instrument Suite and Opportunities for Ground-Based Collaborative Observations

D. Hampton, M. Huisjen, J. Baer, T. Yarnell, G. Taudien, D. Gallagher, C. Varner, S. Burcar (Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.), M.F. A'Hearn, D.W. Wellnitz (U. of Maryland), K.P. Klaasen (JPL), K.J. Meech (U. of Hawaii), J.M. Sunshine (SAIC)

The NASA Deep Impact mission delivers a 360-kg Impactor spacecraft to collide with comet Tempel 1 in early July 2005, at a relative speed of approximately 10 km/s. The Impactor is launched attached to a Flyby spacecraft. The two spacecraft separate 24 hours before impact and the Flyby spacecraft diverts to fly by the nucleus at a range of 500 km, at about 18 minutes after the impact. The goal of the impact is to expose pristine material underneath the nuclear crust that can be observed by the Flyby. Lack of hard evidence of the strength and density of cometary nucleii results in a range of predicted crater sizes anywhere between 3 and 200 meters in diameter. Any outcome will significantly improve our knowledge of cometary nucleii.

The Deep Impact scientific suite consists of three optical instruments: a High Resolution Instrument (HRI), and a Medium Resolution Instrument (MRI) on the Flyby spacecraft, and an Impactor Targeting Sensor (ITS), mounted on the Impactor. The HRI consists of a 30-cm aperture, 10.5-m focal length telescope feeding both a visible filtered CCD camera and a long slit IR spectrometer with spectral range from 1.05 to 4.8 microns. The MRI consists of a 12-cm aperture, 2.1-m focal length telescope that feeds a visible filtered CCD camera. The ITS telescope is identical to the MRI telescope, and feeds an unfiltered CCD camera.

The instruments take advantage of the proximity to the impact to gather high-resolution images and spectra, but there are opportunities for collaborative ground-based observations to fill in coverage gaps in the observations by the flight instruments. This presentation discusses the measured performance of the flight instruments, the planned image sequences and the expected science results.

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