Deep Impact/EPOXI

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3488

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Deep Impact could probe deeper into origins
NASA-GSFC NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 12, 2007

In July, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft released a probe that blasted a crater in comet Tempel 1, spilling its elements into space so scientists could discover its composition. The assault was justified because comets are thought to be leftovers from the formation of our solar system, so learning more about them helps to understand how our solar system came to be.

Since those fireworks, the spacecraft has cruised silently through space, healthy and able to take on another mission, if needed. The Deep Impact team realized that with the spacecraft already built and launched, extra discoveries could be made at very little cost, a bonus for an already successful mission.

The team put together a proposal to use the spacecraft's telescope to observe the atmospheres of alien worlds, and to visit another comet. The proposed extended mission is called EPOXI (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation), and it has received $500,000 from NASA for an initial study to determine the requirements and costs in greater detail.

If approved, as Deep Impact passes by Earth on December 31, 2007, it will use our planet's gravity to direct itself to comet Boethin. While it cruises toward the comet, the first part of the extended mission -- the investigation of alien worlds --would begin in January, 2008. More than 200 alien (extrasolar) planets have been discovered to date. Most of these are detected indirectly, by the gravitational pull they exert on their parent star. Directly observing extrasolar planets is very difficult, because the star is so brilliant compared to the planet. Planets simply get lost in the glare, like fireflies near a headlight.

However, sometimes by chance the orbit of an extrasolar planet is aligned so that it eclipses its star as seen from Earth. In these rare cases, light from the extrasol "I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before". Linda Morabito on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.http://www.launchphotography.com/

http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/this ... anijournal
 
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webtaz99

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I really have to wonder why it costs $500,000 just to find out how much it will <b>really</b> cost. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi webtaz99. Too many consultants. I absolutely admire NASA for the planetary exploration programme, but there are far too many chiefs & buraucracy, hence the $500,000 price tag for a feasibilty study. A great shame indeed. Great mission extension though. Comet Boethin will then be the fifth cometary nucleus seen close up (Halley, Borelly, Wild 2, Tempel 1 then Boethin). No two to date have been quite alike!!!<br /><br />==============================================================================<br /><br />Arrows a and b point to large, smooth regions. The impact site is indicated by the third large arrow. Small grouped arrows highlight a scarp (a cliff or steep slope along the edge of a plateau) that is bright due to illumination angle. They show a smooth area to be elevated above the extremely rough terrain. The white scale bar in the lower right represents 1 km across the surface of the comet nucleus. The two directional arrows (vectors) in the upper right point to the Sun and Celestial North. <br /><br />Photo Credit: NASA/UM M. F. A'Hearn et al., Science 310, 258 (2005); published online 8 September 2005 (10.1126/science.1118923). Reprinted with permission from AAAS. <br /><br />==============================================================================<br /><br />Dug up this interesting article & image / diagram, concerning Comet Tempel 1.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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This image shows the composite ITS image of the nucleus with a grid or coordinate system laid over it. The grid helps the science team reference features on the surface. The positive pole is over the horizon at upper right and the longitudes increase according to the right hand rule as defined by the IAU convention. The prime meridian was defined to go through the center of the well-defined crater above the impact site. It is a clear, easily identified feature that can be seen in most of our images, so it makes a good reference point. <br /><br />Photo Credit: NASA/UM/Cornell/Peter Thomas and Tony Farnham <br />==============================================================================<br /><br />The below image / diagram is interesting. Shows the rotational axis, etc of the nucleus of Comet Tempel 1.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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solarspot

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I think the bit about exoplanet hunting is unrelated to the asteroid mission... it's more of a 'we can do it and the probe has way too little to do right now' kind of thing. What confuzes me is how the Infared telescope (thought it was a camera... but ohwell) will be able to do any exoplanet science consindering how small it (the telescope / camera) is... anyone know just how they're expecting Deep Impact to be able to do any meaningful exoplanet science?
 
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mithridates

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I assume it has something to do with the probe being able to look at the same star 24 hours a day if it wants whereas land-based telescopes here don't have that opportunity. Maybe DS1 would provide the data for the missing period during the day (I am just guessing here though). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>----- </p><p>http://mithridates.blogspot.com</p> </div>
 
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3488

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I would guess that is the case. Deep Impact can currently view any chosen star 24/7. SO any transiting events should be seeable to the HRI.<br /><br />Anyway, I think the Comet 85P/Boethin extension in December 2008, is more exciting & relevant. This is an interesting article.<br /><br />There is a chance that the STARDUST craft (which successfully returned particles from Comet Wild 2) could encounter Comet Tempel 1, to image the impact crater, created by the Deep Impact impactor, as well as image the nucleus from a different angle.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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comga

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The exoplanet study is essentially unrelated to the comet mission. However, the spacecraft is in good shape, and will not be doing much for the months between the Earth "gravity sling" fly-by and the encounter with Comet Boethin. Its imaging infrared spectrometer, with coverage from 1.05 to 4.8 microns, will be able to make direct measurements of the spectra of the giant exoplanets. In addition, because the main visible camera is out of focus, it makes a terrific radiometer, and can very accurately measure the drop in brightness of both the primary occultation, where the exoplanet goes in front of the star, and the secondary occultation, where the exoplanet goes behind the star. IIRC, there are three primary targets of transiting exoplanets, and some other investigations mixed in. <br /><br />The cost relates to the cooperative work of the two previous and separate proposals EPOCh and DIXI. This is not all money down the drain to consultants, but team members working out the details so that they can cooperate and reduce the overall cost. Much of this money would have been spent later when working out the operations for the two programs.<br /><br />And I really like the new name for the combined mission. EPOXI. This is a name that should stick! (I really could not resist that one.)
 
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3488

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I agree. It is a long wait to December 2008, so lets do some science in the meantime. Shame there are no NEAs on the route!!!<br /><br /> Comet 85P/Boethin is also a Jupiter family comet, so will be interesting to compare the nucleus with that of Tempel 1. Although the HRI is slightly out of focus, it has & will still return some great images.<br /><br />Looking forward to it.<br /><br />Funny name EPOXI, sounds like some sort of resin!!!!<br /><br />Quite like the image below from the impactor. Shows an area less than 1 square kilometre, showing details to only a few metres across on the Comet Tempel 1.<br /><br />==============================================================================<br /><br />This image of the surface of comet Tempel 1 was taken about 20 seconds before Deep Impact's probe crashed into the comet at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3. This particular region contains the impact site.<br /><br />The bright patches in the image may consist of very smooth and reflective material, the composition of which will be determined by Deep Impact's spectrometer. Dark areas are in shadow and provide information about surface topography. Higher terrain appears rough relative to lower areas that appear very smooth. Is this a layered surface? And how did the smooth regions form? These are some of the questions the science team plans to address.<br /><br />This image was taken by the probe's impactor targeting sensor.<br /><br />Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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I just HAD to slip this one in!!! Always try to include Jupiter when ever possible. Deep Impact imaged Jupiter, so Jupiter is included!!!!!!!!!!<br /><br />==============================================================================<br /><br />An old favorite, Jupiter, was observed by Deep Impact on February 6, 2005, with its high resolution imager (HRI). Jupiter was over 728 million kilometers (more than 452 million miles) away from the spacecraft. The North Polar Region, North Equatorial Belt, South Equatorial Belt and South Polar Region can be seen as dark regions and bands. The light regions are the tropical and equatorial zones.<br /><br />Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD. <br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Quite a nice mug shot of the moon, whilst Deep Impact was sent on her way!!!<br /><br />==============================================================================<br />Four days after launch from Cape Canaveral on January 12, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft pointed at the Moon to test its telescopes, cameras and spectrometer. This image was taken on January 16, 2005, with the Medium Resolution Imager (MRI). It was a 9.5 sec exposure. The spacecraft was more than 1.65 million kilometers (1.02 million miles) from the Moon, and a little more than 1.27 million kilometers (789,000 miles) from Earth. The spacecraft is scheduled to impact comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005.<br /><br />Image credit: NASA/JPL<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Quite like this one of a 'crescent' Comet Tempel 1.<br /><br />==============================================================================<br /><br />This image shows the view from Deep Impact's flyby spacecraft as it turned back to look at comet Tempel 1. Fifty minutes earlier, the spacecraft's probe had been run over by the comet. That collision kicked up plumes of ejected material, seen here streaming away from the back side of the comet. This image was taken by the flyby craft's high-resolution camera.<br /><br />Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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thalion

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I'm guessing that it's not only that it can observe the stars continously, but that telescopes that could do similarly well (like Hubble) have extremely competitive observing times that would make such a program very difficult to push through.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Welcome to SDC. A superb first (or near first) post!! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Yes I agree MeteorWayne. <br /> <br />Welcome to SDC adastagrl.<br /><br />Yes adastagrl, I would like to Deep Impact be used for something else in the mean time. <br /><br />Perhaps a close encounter with a Near Earth Asteroid. At the moment, Deep Impact is in the<br /> distance range from the Sun to approach an Amor asteroid (of which 433 Eros is the best<br /> known thanks to the NEAR / Shoemaker spacecraft & 1036 Ganymed is the largest). Of course, <br />it depends if any Amors are around!!!!!! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />EPOCh is ideal for using the HRI, which as said is slightly out of focus. <br /><br />Light variations are easier to detect if a point source is slightly out of focus!!<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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brellis

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Cornell Chronicle Article<br /><br /><font color="orange">If Stardust NExT gets the green light from NASA, the Stardust spacecraft would be redirected to pass within 200 kilometers of comet Tempel 1 in February 2011 -- close enough to provide a first look at the crater caused by the Deep Impact collision and a large piece of previously unmapped territory.</font><br /><br />Three great things about this proposed mission extension:<br /><br />1. Seeing Tempel up close after the comet has completed another orbit will give scientists some juicy details about the cycles of a comet's life. <br />2. Using the same instruments to analyze two different comets helps calibrate the data.<br />3. Oberving the same comet with two different spacecraft adds more complexity to the avaliable data. <img src="/images/icons/cool.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#ff0000"><em><strong>I'm a recovering optimist - things could be better.</strong></em></font> </p> </div>
 
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holmec

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Very cool. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Thank you very much Brelllis.<br /><br />This must go ahead.<br /><br />Stardust is still fully operational & can make the trip, so why the hell not?<br /><br />This will provide images of the slowly rotating nucleus, that Deep Impact missed,<br />as well as image the crater, created when the Deep Impact impactor created<br />but was hidden by the dust / ice plume.<br /><br />I wonder if anybody has bothered to check the trajectory for any potential<br />Near Earth Asteroid encounters, on route, as Deep Impact<br />on route to Comet Boethin.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Andrew, I'm sure in this case they've examined every possibilty within fuel range. Tempel 1 is a great choice for the reasons already mentioned. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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comga

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Welcome<br /><br />You said:<br />"remember that the HRI is slightly out of focus... This actually is beneficial to the EPOCh team for making their measurements. I didn't understand it exactly, but for them it's actually a bonus!"<br /><br />The planet is much smaller than the star. Therefore it obscures only a tiny fraction of the starlight, and one has to measure the power with great precision to get a good measure of this small drop. The ultimate limit on the Signal-to-Noise level is the statistics of the photons that are arriving, and it grows the square root of the number of these photons. (Actually the number of electrons created in the detector material.) The number of electrons, in turn, is limited by the capacity of the detector elements. <br /><br />They cannot take more exposures, because they are trying to do time resolved measurements, essentially a plot versus time of the power, the "light curve". They can't increase the aperture (obviously) which is 300 mm for both the visible and IR systems. What they can do (or can't avoid doing in this case) is spread the light out over several (here about 80) pixels. This increases the total signal they can record by a factor of about 80 and the Signal-to-Noise ratio by about a factor of 9. It IS a bonus!
 
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h2ouniverse

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Hi Andrew,<br /><br />Thanks for posting this famous picture of the post-impact plume. By the way I was wondering how much pressure there was in the plume, say, when it was 1km, 10km, 100km long. Do you know the figures?<br /><br />Thanks in advance<br />Joel
 
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3488

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Excellent news.<br /><br />Extended Missions approved.<br /><br />Hi Joel (H2Ouniverse). I'm afraid that I do not know what the pressure was.<br /><br />IMO it woould not have to be much, seeing as the surface gravitiy of the Nucleus of Tempel 1<br />is pretty weak.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Excellent.<br />Maybe we'll finally find out how big the crater is that the imactor made!! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi MeteorWayne.<br /><br />It is fantastic news.<br /><br />Hopefully the approach will be slow, to enable the imaging of most of the nucleus.<br /><br />The Nucleus is thought to rotate once every 41 hours. Also Tempel 1 almost spins on its side<br />like 433 Eros, so the comet has some severe 'seasons'.<br /><br />One thing that seem to be argued is<br /><br />1) Time the encounter of Stardust to image the Deep Impact impactor crater in detail,<br /><br />or<br /><br />2), time the encounter so that the opposite side of the comet is visible at closest approach of <br />Stardust, thus completing a 'global' map of the entire nucleus.<br /><br />What do other members think?????????<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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