Exploring the Solar System

Exploring Asteroids and Comets

How and when did Deep Impact collide with its target comet?

Deep Impact was launched on January 12, 2005, by NASA on a Delta II rocket, toward the comet P/Tempel 1 (also simply called Comet Tempel 1). On July 3, the impactor separated from the flyby craft and guided itself into the path of the oncoming comet. The next day, as scientists watched with their instruments and the public watched on the Internet, Comet Tempel 1 crashed into the impactor at more than twenty-three thousand miles (thirty-seven thousand kilometers) per hour.


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