Deep Impact spacecraft readies for comet encounter

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 27, 2010 03:49

 
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LOS ANGELES — A NASA spacecraft is about to have another close look at a comet.

Next week, the Deep Impact spacecraft is set to pass within 435 miles (700 kilometers) of a half-mile (kilometer) -wide comet named Hartley 2. It will use its telescopes and other instruments to examine the surface and record gas outbursts.

Five years ago, Deep Impact created cosmic fireworks when it released a probe into comet Tempel 1. The resulting collision gave scientists their first glimpse of a comet's interior.

The spacecraft was tapped for another mission to rendezvous with comet Hartley 2. Since September, it has been taking images of its target.

The flyby on Nov. 4 will be the fifth time that a comet has been viewed close up.

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