October 31, 2006
Deep Impact Heads to New Comet
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - The surviving portion of the Deep Impact space probe that watched as its other half smashed into a comet on July 4 is being sent on a mission to study another comet.
NASA announced Tuesday that it has accepted a proposal by the University of Maryland, which developed and manages Deep Impact, to send the vehicle on an extended mission to intercept Comet Boethin.
On Independence Day, an 820-pound copper probe separated from Deep Impact and collided with comet Tempel 1 while instruments on Deep Impact and Earth-based telescopes watched to see what the wreckage would reveal about the comet.
The new mission won't involve a collision. Instead, Deep Impact will pass Boethin in December 2008 so its instruments can examine the comet.
The spacecraft remains healthy, said Deep Impact astronomer Michael A'Hearn.
On the Net:
Deep Impact: http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/