“Deep Impact” lecture to explain what’s inside a comet

Release Date: 
Friday, March 3, 2006

For Immediate Release

Scientists believed comets were filled with ice, dust and perhaps the building blocks of life, but traditionally their make-up had been a mystery. It wasn’t until the 2005 NASA Deep Impact mission that scientists were finally allowed their first peek inside a comet.

Don Hampton, systems engineer with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., will speak about his involvement with the Deep Impact mission in a free public lecture. “Deep Impact: Unlocking the Secrets Within a Comet” will take place Tuesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

On July 4, 2005, the Deep Impact mission sent a spacecraft to collide with the Tempel-1 comet, exposing for the first time fresh material deep under the surface. A second spacecraft, and scores of ground observers that took images of the comet before, during, and after the impact observed this collision. A spectacular set of data was captured for scientists to study for years to come. In the lecture, Hampton will show the audience what was observed and explain what the current scientific consensus is on this project.

“Deep Impact: Unlocking the Secrets Within a Comet” is sponsored by the Geophysical Institute and the Alaska Space Grant Program. It is a free public lecture that is open to all ages. Educational activities and information will be available prior to the lecture in the Great Hall.

Amy Hartley, Geophysical Institute Information Officer: (907) 474-5823