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The Deep Impact spacecraft passed over the Earth to gain momentum

The spacecraft on a new mission that it received after finishing the encounter with the comet Temple 2 - an encounter with another comet in November, this time without throwing a projectile at it

The EPOXI route. Credit NASA/JPL
The EPOXI route. Credit NASA/JPL
By Nancy Atkinson

The Deep Impact spacecraft, which is going on its second mission, passed by the Earth this week (June 27) and received a gravitational boost from it to help it on its journey to meet the comet Hartley 2 in the fall of this year.

The spacecraft that ejected the bullet that hit Comet Temple on July 1, 2006 has been returned to work with two new missions sharing the spacecraft. This is the fifth time this spacecraft has passed the surface of the Earth, and this time it was the closest approach - 30,400 kilometers over the South Atlantic Ocean.

The spacecraft's speed changed due to the passage near Earth as it approached the surface, said astronomer Michael A'Hearn, of the University of Maryland, the principal investigator on the current mission, known as Epoxy, as well as the original Deep Impact mission.

The name Epoxy (EPOXI) is a combination of the initials of two separate missions - The Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI) designed to observe Comet Hartley 2 during its approach in November 2010. The second half of the mission is called the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) and as its name indicates On it he uses the spacecraft's instruments to observe known extrasolar planets as they pass their sun from our line of sight.

"There is always gravitational assistance to increase speed in transit flights. And sometimes, like this time, this is the main reason for the transit flight. The flight was also designed to change the inclination of the spacecraft's orbit to match that of Hartley 2, and we use the transition to change the narrowness of the orbit and direct us to the comet," said Aharon.

"Earth is a great place to get orbital velocity," says Tim Larson, epoxy project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This transit flight will give the spacecraft a boost of 1.5 kilometers per second, and will direct us closer to the comet."

In the previous times when the spacecraft approached the Earth, the scientists used it to locate water on the Moon and to study the reflection of light from the Earth, to compare it with that of planets in other solar systems.

The article in Universe Today

9 תגובות

  1. Yaniv,
    I don't know what exactly you saw on TV, but "Star Trek" (and its foreign name: Star Trek) is a science fiction series, that is, it does not describe an existing reality, but one that exists in the distant future according to the imagination and creativity of the creators of the series and the writers of its episodes.

  2. To Max and Viniv
    A light year is 63240 astronomical units and Pioneer is approximately two thousand light years from Earth.
    And by the way, there is an anomaly in its movement (Pioneer's anomaly) that does not correspond to the movement according to the Newton-Einstein gravitation formula.
    Shabbat Shalom
    Sabdarmish Yehuda

  3. Liniv, the Pioneer spaceship launched in the 70s, is still in the solar system in the Oort cloud environment less than half a light year away.

  4. Of course it is, they even showed in some TV series (call it Star Trek or something like that...)

  5. Yaniv…
    NASA does not have a spacecraft that can travel one light year away from Earth
    So millions?

  6. Wait, so what is the name of the spaceship that is powered by an ion engine?

  7. Really strange, I thought this spaceship was already millions of light years away, I didn't know it was even supposed to come back to us. I mean, I thought its trajectory was straight, One Way, wait, isn't this the super-fast spaceship powered by an ion engine? What is her speed?

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