The latest stage of NASA’s Deep Impact project has gone like clockwork with the reported successful separation of the Impactor probe from its mother satellite. The beer-barrel sized projectile is now speeding towards comet Tempel One, which has been voyaging peacefully in the solar system since its discovery in 1867. That calm will be shattered tomorrow when the impactor is crashed into it to see what happens. Deep Impact will record the high-speed collision. Stellar vandalism say some critics of the project, but researchers involved say it is much more than just a galactic fireworks display. The explosion the probe will trigger on impact, equivalent to five tons of TNT, will release material that can be analysed. Exposing the interior of a comet for the first time could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, the composition of comets, and thus life on earth, as some believe a comet could have “seeded” our home with ice-bound microorganisms after entering the atmosphere. You can follow the event live on EuroNews.
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