Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA’s Deep Impact Team Releases First Snapshot of Comet Tempel 1

07.09.2005


The surface of comet Tempel 1, hit by a NASA space probe during a spectacular July 4 experiment, bears evidence of impact craters, suggesting that the comet has collided with asteroids or other space travelers in its journeys around the Sun.



Several dozen circular features that appear to be impact craters, ranging from 40 to 400 meters across, were spotted on Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact mission, according to first results from the mission team published by Science and released at the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society held at the University of Cambridge.

Tempel 1 is the first comet to show evidence for impact craters. In fact, differences in the comet’s topography and shape compared with Borrelly and Wild 2 – the two other comets studied in detail by scientists – “raises the question of whether any comet is typical when looked at closely,” the team writes.


“This comet is a geologic wonder,” said Peter Schultz, a professor of geological sciences at Brown University and a co-investigator on the mission team. “There are smooth surfaces, filled-in craters, ridges, cliffs. Tempel 1 also features an area marked by innumerable bumps and valleys. This all suggests a long history of evolution.”

Deep Impact, managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Maryland, aims to better understand how comets are built and what they’re made of. Some scientists believe that comets, which contain water ice and organic matter, may have carried ingredients necessary for life to Earth during a long-ago collision.

On Tempel 1, both ice and organic dust were initially seen in the plume that rapidly left the comet within the first few seconds after a copper-wrapped impactor hit. The team found that the comet’s surface consists of a powdery layer tens of meters deep.

“The most significant finding is the nature of the surface of the comet,” Schultz said. “We now know that it isn’t covered in a hard crust. It’s a fine-grained, loosely glued layer of organic powder and ice. You couldn’t make a snowball on Tempel 1.”

Two graduate students in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown – Clara Eberhardy and Carolyn Ernst – were at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July to analyze data. Eberhardy assisted in spectral analysis; Ernst examined the flash after the space probe hit. Both are co-authors on the Science paper.

Schultz said the science team still has years of work ahead to determine fully the structure and composition of the comet. For example, scientists were unable to identify all the organic compounds that make up Tempel 1, information that could shed new light on formation of the solar system or how life came to Earth.

“Deep Impact lived up to its name and more,” Schultz said. “But there are undoubtedly more surprises to be pulled out of the treasure trove of data.”

NASA funded the work.

Wendy Lawton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>