Comet 9P/Tempel I (Deep Impact, NASA, JPL, University of Maryland)

Welcome to the nucleus of Comet 9P/Tempel I, the first object that was visited (and struck by) NASA’s Deep Impact space probe. The 7.6×4.9km hunk of rock, dust and ice revolves around the Sun roughly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter once every 5.68 years. After sending a washing machine-sized impactor to crash into the surface to study the material kicked off the comet, the Deep Impact probe continued through space on its way to a rendezvous with Comet Hartley 2 in November, 2010 under the name EPOXI. Another spacecraft NExT (formerly Stardust) has just revisted Comet Tempel I on February 15th.

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