Deep Impact Comet Bash, part 5 NASA TV 7 minutes to impact

[coverage of Planetary Society’s Deep Impact Comet Bash: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 ]

Looking at the control room at JPL… Final impactor targeting maneuver is right on. Fault protection is turned off…

“you’re wondering what all those people are doing there, because there’s nothing they can do”

“Luke has turned off the computer” (joking here among Bill Nye and Bruce Betts)

Let the impactor choose its own target spot. Blue shirts flyby spacecraft, red shirts impact spacecraft. (identifying people in the control room, and who’s operating what spacecraft)

Multiplicity of things that’ll convey a successful impact. (radio is going to stop… camera’s going to go belly up, and we should see brighening on the comet itself…)

20 seconds to start of sequences on flyby that are to capture it.

This is one of the few spacecraft missions where you WANT to hear the radio stop.

12 light minutes for signal to get here. [note: later on that figure was corrected to 7 minutes]
“We have lost lock.” lost transmitter. Good news!!! (yes, I had to ask Doc M what that meant. That means we lost transmission from the impactor, one of the looked-for signs of mission success.)

Images of large comet image. with a cross hair for point of impact. highest resolution from impacting. Joe Veverka being interviewed by Gaye Yee Hill at JPL: “spacecraft is doing remarkably well for something that’s about to vaporize”
Looking close, very hostile environment. few meters resolution….
6 miles per second. (To compare: at that rate, you could fly from LA to NY in under 6 minutes, or around the world in around an hour. Faster than speeding bullet. Take that, Superman!)

Control room people are jumping up and down. that’s good. Applause here. Confirmation and control room does their high 5 routine.

The red guys are done.
“Amazing image. that’s a keeper.” But they’re not showing it yet on TV. everyone reacting to , but we’re not seeing it yet. WOW!! [now they showed it] An image of the impact. applause here at Comet Bash auditorium.

13 minutes before we go into shield mode. I’m seeing image on screen, But don’t have it to show you. You’ll see it all over tomorrow. “and we thought it was going to be subtle” (quote from someone. Veverka? Don’t know who.)

Shield is what it’ll do while it flies through the dust of the comet. will still have high gain antenna going.

Shield mode in a matter of seconds. So NASA TV is showing images just prior to impact (from impactor). Remarkable.

An object the size of a washing machine that’s hit the comet.

Pre-impact image.. same one as shown a while back:

comet pre impact

Veverka: Impact was larger than I expected, larger than many people expected.

They’re showing views of high rez up close images of comet–with small impact craters from past encounters.

AP now has a story about the impact, with shot of JPL control room.

Veverka: science team is ecstatic: Can’t believe they’re being paid to have this much fun.

Now we have local congresscritters making the rounds, shaking hands of all the engineers.

I’m looking for the impact image on web sites to post here…

13 minutes for better images…. Bill Smythe (payload specialist, builder of one of the onboard cameras) has gone outside to talk to the press…

3 responses to “Deep Impact Comet Bash, part 5 NASA TV 7 minutes to impact”

  1. Read This Blog! » Deep Impact

    […] I’ve been watching the NASA-TV coverage of Deep Impact, while also reading Susan Kitchens’s on-the-scene blog. Having both sources of information is very nice, because NASA-TV is very hard to follow at times (it was really frustrating when they were showing people celebrating and talking about the great images but not showing them). TiVo has, as always, been very handy so I could take a longer look at some of the images. Filed under: Life — David @ 11:22 pm […]

  2. Kunal Anand

    Hey – do you also work at JPL? I’ve been trying to find other JPL or NASA affiliated employees that blog.

  3. Susan A. Kitchens

    No, I don’t, but my boyfriend does. But he doesn’t blog. (he’s known around these parts as Doc M).