NASA's Stardust braves cometary flak
Survives photographic close encounter with Tempel 1
NASA's Stardust spacecraft has survived a close encounter with comet Tempel 1, during which it took a few substantial hits from cometary flak.
The craft passed within 111 miles of the comet at 20:40 p.m. PST on 14 February (04:40 GMT on 15 February), and has returned some impressive photos of the distant body.
As well as 72 high resolution snaps of Tempel 1, Stardust collected data on the comet's tail, and engineering telemetry revealing it "flew through waves of disintegrating cometary particles including a dozen impacts that penetrated more than one layer of its protective shielding".
Don Brownlee, Stardust co-investigator from the University of Washington, said: "The data indicate Stardust went through something similar to a B-17 bomber flying through flak in World War II. Instead of having a little stream of uniform particles coming out, they apparently came out in chunks and crumbled."
Despite the rough ride, principal investigator Joe Veverka confirmed the mission had been "100 per cent successful". He added: "We saw a lot of new things that we didn't expect, and we'll be working hard to figure out what Tempel 1 is trying to tell us."
Impact site before and after
Hmmm, doesn't look like much of a crater to me, are they sure those arrows shouldn't be pointing to that bloody great hole just to the left.
Luther does science (for a change)
1. Take 1 Opera (sorry for the product placement)
2. Key Shft+'+ ' a few times
3. Pick up one wooden ruler, calibrated in mmmmm
4. Read length of scale bar. Record reading
5. Read diameter of crater. Record reading
Scale bar = 22mm +/-1mm
Crate = 5mm +/-0.5mm
Windoze Notepad says crater is 45.454545454545454545454545454545m in diameter (not 150m)
Surmise: Is this why the new pictures are warm and fuzzy? Observe further: not a single occurrence of 'ice' in the whole item. Seriously, isn't this a falsification of the 'snowy dirtball' model of comets? "We saw a lot of new things that we didn't expect, and we'll be working hard to figure out what Tempel 1 is trying to tell us." Would that be hard as in maths, or hard as in rock?
Before and After pictures
So the effect of spacecraft impact on a comet is that the comet becomes more blurry?