Bullseye: Deep Impact Slams Into Comet

050704 flyby impact 01 Bullseye: Deep Impact Slams Into CometThe Deep Impact project was a complete success. One might think it an easy task to send a bullet the size of a little European auto into a wall the size of Manhattan (at about 100x faster than a standard bullet), but I’m guessing the logistics are a bit more taxing. Anyone doing any missle guidance probably knows that. There’s good reason that time synchronization is so critically important to guidance when a second off could mean 100′ at the target – or thousands of miles in the astronomical sense. With such a success, NASA has proved their stuff again in both logisitcal planning as well as creative forethought. The ‘bullet’ was equipped with a complete set of brains and three propulsion boosters for guidance correction after the drop-off. As a major point of concern, their confidence was bolstered as the projectile corrected itself shortly into flight with success. The hard part awaits; assembling the data into meaningful results. I’m sure they’ll find the question to the answer of which we all know and love, ’42.’ Scientists are already eagerly awaiting their next rendez vous with a comet, somewhere in the vicinity of 2014:

Yeomans hoped that the success of Deep Impact would lead to more ambitious missions. ‘The next step is to actually rendezvous with a comet, orbit it, and then land and do surface analysis,’ Yoemans said. ‘Which is what the Europeans expect to do with the Rosetta spacecraft in 2014.’