Success! Deep Impact Crashes into Comet
PASADENA, Calif. - A space probe hit its comet target late Sunday in a
NASA-directed, Hollywood-style mission that scientists hope will reveal clues to how the solar system formed.
It marked the first time a spacecraft touched the surface of a comet, igniting a dazzling Independence Day weekend fireworks display in space.
The successful strike 83 million miles away from Earth occurred just before 11 p.m. PDT, according to mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which is managing the $333 million mission.
Scientists at mission control erupted in applause and gave each other hugs as news of the impact spread.
It was a milestone for the U.S. space agency, which hopes the $333 million experiment will answer basic questions about the origins of the solar system.
The cosmic smash-up did not significantly alter the comet's orbit around the sun and NASA said the experiment does not pose any danger to Earth.
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