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Deep Impact deploys impactor probe
Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2005, 12:23 PM ET (1623 GMT)
Deep Impact spacecraft illustration (NASA/JPL) NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft released the probe early Sunday that will collide with the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 in less than 24 hours. Deep Impact released the 375-kilogram probe at 2:07 am EDT (0607 GMT) Sunday, and data returned from the spacecraft indicated that the separate was a success and the impactor was functioning normally. The impact is scheduled for 1:52 am EDT (0552 GMT) Monday. The impactor, powered by batteries and made predominately of copper, also carries cameras and other instruments, the data from which will be sent to the flyby spacecraft for later retransmission to Earth. The flyby spacecraft, along with many observatories on Earth and in space, will observe the collision, as scientists hope the impact will liberate materials from below the surface that will offer clues to the composition of the early solar system.
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