Deep Impact right on target
The 370-kg impactor, equipped with its own autonomous navigation system, successfully slammed into the comet this morning at a speed of 37,000 kph after a 900,000-km chase.
Depending on the comet’s composition, the crater left by the impactor should be as big as a house or even a football field, and 2 to 14 storeys deep.
The Deep Impact mothership observed and took pictures of the explosive encounter from a safe distance of 500 km, using 2 cameras and an infrared spectrometer.
The collision was also seen by many ground-based and space telescopes.
Rosetta on a journey through time
Deep Impact met its quarry head on in a high-speed celestial crash. On the other hand, Rosetta will go into orbit around its target comet and release the Philae lander for a soft touchdown on the surface of the nucleus. The orbiter will then track the comet from a distance for 2 years as it gets closer to the Sun.