Spacecraft racing to slam into a comet

Spacecraft racing to slam into a comet

Eighty-three million miles from here, a NASA spacecraft is closing in for the first real-life attack on a heavenly body - a comet called Tempel-1. On Monday, the spacecraft will send an 800-pound projectile smashing into the comet to expose whatever is inside.

The Hubble and two other space-based telescopes and countless observatories on the ground will be focused on tiny Tempel-1 during the impact, planned for 1:52 a.m. Philadelphia time.

"We don't know what's going to happen," said Jack Brandt, a comet expert from the University of New Mexico. Most likely a huge crater will form, but as a long shot, scientists say the impact could blow the whole thing to bits.

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Date Published: Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 01:00
Source URL: The Philadelphia Inquirer