International Space Experiment comet bombardment came at the finish line. On Monday at 9.52 Moscow time copper Impactor probe weighing 370 kilograms collided with the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel-1. After three minutes after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena received the first photographs, proving that the collision.
Collision with comet Tempel-1 has become a kind of fireworks to the U.S. Independence Day, observed on 4 July - the truth, at a distance of about 134 million km from the United States.
July 4, specialists NASA, of course, is not chosen by accident. However, it is not by chance that the name of the mission coincides with the Hollywood film Deep Impact ( В«Facing the abyssВ»): a comet, flying to the Earth, have not been able to destroy even nuclear weapons. Tempel-1 does not threaten Earth, but its study, as they say at NASA, will provide scientists information about how to counter the possible threat from outer space. Comets are exploring not the first time, but until now scientists have been able to examine only the surface of these cosmic bodies. On their internal structure yet, little is known. Therefore, experts expect that the collision with Tempel-1 will help answer many questions: first and foremost to understand how hard the surface of comets.
expedition started 12 January 2005, and in April the unit Deep Impact made the first photographs of the comet Tempel-1 from a distance of 63.89 million km - Expedition and its purpose were to reconcile. Finally on the night of Sunday Deep Impact successfully completed another maneuver to change the trajectory of motion. Propulsion systems, spent over 30 seconds, slow down the machine up to 1 km / h. This enabled the research ship of the most accurate way to reach the approaching comet. Shortly after this mission, engineers spent the final action by preparing a mother ship and a copper tube to the division. Approximately 10.07 Moscow time on the Deep Impact worked explosive bolts, and Impactor successfully went into free flight. At that point he was at a distance of 880 thousand kilometers from its target.
As specialists confirmed the mission, at a copper zonde joined S-band antenna: a channel of communication with the mother ship has been successfully established. Through this channel, scientists expect to get all the data that the collision may record devices installed on sounder (especially among the expectancy of information - the image the cometary nucleus). Meanwhile, the research staff of the newly earned engines, in which he resigned from the comet's path and took the position of observer. Research devices would capture a collision course with a safe distance.
According to the calculations of experts, a comet crashed into the Impactor at a speed of about 37 thousand km / h.
over 3.7 seconds before the Impactor made his last photographs. They - wedge-shaped body, like a deformed avocados than a scientist.
very surface of the comet with numerous craters and mountain ranges in many ways similar to the surface of the Moon.
The first images from mother ship after the collision, the magnitude of the mission specialists surprised explosion. В«He was much stronger than we expected - the expert on comets Donald Yomans. - I am, in fact, has not even been able to explain how our small copper billet size of a washing machine may cause such a stir in space В».
on some estimates, was made at the time of the collision energy, equivalent to 4.5 tons of TNT explosion.
While still in the development of the experiment, some scientists do not exclude that in the process of the impact of subsurface can release pressure comet. Perhaps, therefore, the explosion and was so powerful.
copper projectile, according to scientists, probably formed on the surface of the body of outer crater diameter of at least 200 meters and a depth of 50 m. However, because of the dust cloud on the first picture is not visible.
At the same time, the mission specialists were promised that it could be considered at a recent photo. The point is that in a scientific station was only 13 minutes to collect the first and most important data. Then the ship was replaced orientation disclosed dust shields, so the transmission of information to Earth temporarily stopped. As reported later in the briefing, the mission specialists, the station safely survived the Deep Impact comet particles flow. В«So far we have received only 10% of the information - said one of the engineers of NASA. - The rest of the staff will transfer the collected data to Earth on Tuesday В». In addition, the mission reported that В«optics and instruments mother ship in orderВ», so that, as anticipated, Deep Impact sent to the remote study of other comets.
Moment clashes seen in more than four observatories on Earth and the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes in space - they have collected information on dust and gases that have contributed to the Tempel-1. Scientists hope that monitoring the process krateroobrazovaniya provide indirect information on the density, chemical composition and mechanical properties of the cometary nucleus. This, in turn, will help to answer one of the key questions of planetary science - as the formation of comets, and even the solar system. (Comets contain original material gazopylevogo protoplanetnogo clouds, from which approximately 4.5 billion years ago formed our planetary system.)
As В«Gazete.RuВ» the press service of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took part in the experiment, and Russian scientists from the Institute of Thermophysics extreme conditions and the Institute of Chemical Physics.
They carried out experiments to generate powerful shock waves, explore the physical properties of materials at ultra-high pressures and temperatures, simulating the conditions of the experiment Deep Impact. A numerical simulation of collision, held them to evaluate the possible size of the crater, depending on the initial density of the cometary nucleus, determine the parameters of the outbreak and its spectral composition, resulting from an impact in several optical bands. According to the Russian Academy of Sciences, В«the results of research by Russian scientists observatories will enable a more meaningful observation of the impact, as well as to interpret the resultsВ».