back to article Comet-bomb interceptor makes low pass above Atlantic

A NASA space probe famous for bombing a comet five years ago made a final "flyby" past Earth last night, changing its orbit around the Sun with the aid of the planet's gravity. The renamed "EPOXI" craft (formerly "Deep Impact") swooped low just 19,000 miles above the South Atlantic at 11pm UK time last night. Orbits of EPOXI, …

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  1. Poor Coco
    Joke

    Well, yeah, but..

    "Earth is a great place to pick up orbital velocity," said Tim Larson, the EPOXI project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "This flyby will [get us] up close and personal with comet Hartley 2."

    Oh, sure, really handy for you space-boffins and your probes! Send the Earth spiraling into the Sun just to visit a comet. The nerve!

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      Boffin

      Aye

      No-one from NASA ever mentions that they've just shaved a centimetre off the earth's orbit. And made the year a fraction of a second shorter. Swines!

  2. Mike Richards

    Disappointed

    Usually NASA have a handy back-of-the-envelope comparison to hand on to tell us just how insanely difficult this is - you know, 'scoring a hole-in-one after a three mile shot' or 'getting five bars while making a call with an iPhone 4' (okay this wasn't that difficult, but you get the idea).

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It's Web2.0 now, baby

      You're supposed to fill in your own analogy these days:

      "Throwing an envelope through a letterbox from a mile away" sounds pretty hard.

      A flyby itself is pretty easy - getting exactly the right delta-v from the encounter is the tricky part.

    2. Raving
      Coffee/keyboard

      Aborted fail

      Very disappointing. Unlike the politically savvy architects of the Phoenix Mars Lander project, the designers of the "Deep Impact" ignored obsolescence.

  3. ravenviz Silver badge

    Sorry but

    what is TCM-9 on the second chart?

    1. adastragrl

      TCM = Trajectory Correction Maneuver

      TCMs are usually done using the engines on the spacecraft. TCM 9 basically setup the spacecraft to do a flyby of Earth to start the spacecraft's new mission to visit another comet.

  4. John Dougald McCallum
    Joke

    ETA November 4th

    Damm one day too soon should be on the 5th Guy Fawkes night hope it can be seen.

  5. James Hughes 1

    Well, let's be honest

    It's not rocket science now, is it.

    Oh, hold on....

  6. Anonymous John

    Venus

    Venus has a day longer than its year, and rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets. A clear warning of the dangers of too many flybys.

    No wonder the Venusians are extinct, and their planet uninhabitable.

  7. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Whats the new mission?

    Maybe i missed something in the article but what is the actual point of this new mission? Is it just a close up flyby of the new comet? The original deep impact was all about launching a washing machine (alright something the size of a washing machine, but not necessarily a washing machine if you want to be pedantic) at a comet and watching the debris to learn about the structure and other interesting things that emerged from the impact.

    Will EPOXI do anything more then take close up pics of this new passing comet?

    Still good of them to make use of the satellite. If you going to go to the effort of putting a satellite up there you may as well get your full moneys worth!

    1. El Richard Thomas

      I can see their point...

      After all the trouble I had I wanted to launch my washing machine at Comet. With hindsight I should have gone to the Planet Zanussi...

    2. Wommit
      Paris Hilton

      Re : What's the new mission?

      Not to mention that it keeps them employed for a while longer.

    3. adastragrl

      recycled spacecraft

      Actually, the original Deep Impact mission launched 2 spacecrafts: a washing machine sized flyby spacecraft and a smaller impactor which was released into the path of Tempel 1. The impactor actually hit the comet while the large spacecraft flew by taking pics. The flyby spacecraft still exists and works. So, NASA decided to repurpose the spacecraft. It has just enough fuel, along with some clever trajectory maneuvers to fly past another comet. Meanwhile, it also made observations of transiting exoplanets.

      epoxi.umd.edu

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