Azara Blog: Comet smash

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Date published: 2005/01/12

The BBC says:

Nasa's Deep Impact mission, which will crash a projectile into Comet Tempel 1, has launched from Cape Canaveral.
The projectile will collide with the comet on 4 July - 24 hours after its release - travelling at 37,000km/h (23,000 mph).
It could punch a crater in the comet big enough to swallow Rome's Coliseum.
The washing machine-sized projectile is composed of copper because this metal is not expected to appear in the natural chemical signature of the comet itself.

Once upon a time NASA (and the Russians) left all kinds of junk in Earth orbit because it "wasn't a problem". Now they are going around committing acts of gross vandalism on other objects in the solar system. (The Europeans are also into this game. The Huygens probe, built by the ESA, the European Space Agency, is about to drop onto Titan, a moon of Saturn, although the drop is intended to be controlled.) It would serve us right if the Deep Impact mission changed the orbit of the comet such that in N thousand years its orbit impacted the Earth.

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