This is a must see. The images are of the impactor released by Deep Impact at the speed of 10 km/s into a comet (Tempel 1). Click over to the video section to see the actual impact. It’s truly awesome. The scientists at JPL and NASA hope that the impact will give some insight into the origins of the comet and might even help understand the origin of the solar system.
Although not as big an event as the moon landing, this event does show the technical prowess of NASA and JPL. This impact is akin to a bullet striking a bullet and to be able to achieve it and record the event is truly inspiring. NASA has been an inspiration in space exploration for a number of decades. And to think that some time ago there was a call from a section of the public to reduce the budget of NASA. Thank god Bush prevailed (probably because some of the biggest contracts come from space exploration activities – I know there is nothing good I can say about Bush!!) and a “new era in space exploration” was announced by him during his first term.
Where do we come from? Why are we here? Are we just an accident of nature or are we a process that’s been duplicated elsewhere in space?
These are questions which I think have been around…..uh, lets see…..forever. I am sure that the greats like Galileo, Newton and Einstein started their brilliant careers with generic versions of these questions. I don’t know why there are some people out there who don’t want to know answers to the above questions. Don’t you want to know if our bodies are actually stardust? Don’t you want to know what will happen to our sun after 5 billion years? Don’t you want to know if black holes exist? Don’t you want to know if it’s possible to travel all the way to the stars? I do. And I for one am very happy that NASA is leading the way to seek answers to these questions.