Deep Impact Comet Bash, part 8 press conference

[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 ]

1 am press conference for Deep Impact. in 40 minutes. showing videos here. But in the meantime, a break for now….. we’re told that NASA TV has a still card up announcing the press conference. So. uh. time for a brief nap, I guess…

We’re having an informal chat before the press conference. Bill Nye and Bruce Betts are talking with we die-hards still here at Citrus College. (at point of impact, the auditorium was nearly full. someone said 600 people were here) Now it’s about 55-60 people. But I’m not attending way too close to it. Awaiting the typefest that is the press conference in several minutes.

They just pointed out Emily Lakdawalla’s Planetary Society Blog. I (egoist that I am) just held up the powerbook and said, “I’m blogging this.”

NASA-TV press conference RSN (real soon now). My name is Susan Kitchens, you smacked my comet. Prepare to type!

We’re looking at NASA TV’s “momentarily” screen…. and little space fact: comet’s tails always point away from the sun, no matter whether they’re going toward or away from the sun. It’s because of the solar wind (which Doc M. got his Doc on)

More random comet facts: Whipple shield named for Bill Whipple… “Don’t squeeze the comet.”

Press Conference. 4th of July 1:11

Andy Dantzler, Rick Grammier, Keyur Patel, Mike A’Hearn.

Charles Elachi: intro comments: Was it awesome? [applause] I was told we had more hits from tonight than the combination of Cassini and MER together [no?] there is a comet up in the sky that is wondering, What in the heck happened? It was a daring and risky mission. Dream team from JPL and Univeristy of Maryland. People in white, red, and blue shirts here in the auditorium and mission control.

Ed Dite. Happy 4th. For the first time, the fireworks started here (I think that’s a west coast joke -susan) culmination of a lot of effort. Mike A’Hearn for having a great idea. Congrats to the NASA centers, JPL, KSC (launch), recognize the industry team (Ball Brothers) for hardware that made this possible. Thank all our partners. Science that comes out of this mission enabled by an array of assets that have been pointed at this event. Controlled by points all over the world, David S from European Space Agency

Dantzler: I want to point out that this has been quite a hit for NASA, for teamwork in general, for university, nasa center, HQ, aerospace, collaboration around the world, ESA, Rosetta spacecraft. A discovery program that picks out the best of the best. Just in case you missed it, here’s image. I never expected that it’d go this beauitfully well.

Rick Grammier: I’m more relaxed. Right now we’re minus one spacecraft. It’s been totally vaporized, per plan. We have a totally healthy spacecraft. Shows the Maas animation, andcuts away to the impact. We didn’t exercise a single contingency plan that we had. Next roll: what you’ll see here, is team reaction. [fists in air, standup, applause, high 5s] Just one heck of a job, we couldn’t have been out here without a lot of teamwork, thanks to team who worked very hard…. everyone should applaud you for it [applause at JPL, and a little here in room] Then of course we had to stop celebrating really quick and go back and take care of the flyby. Bird’s eye view from the impactor [wow. what an animation, going right up to that. wow. applause]. at Previous news conference we described a requirement; had to get an image 30 seconds before impact. That last picture we got was THREE SECONDS before impact.

Patel: Flylby is performing amicably, went into shield mode, came out with not a single system damaged. Flyby images: from ITS camera, the impacter went and hit in the specific spot. Flyby’s job was to image that spot. We had the spot nailed to within 50 meters. That’s just amazing. (doc M: Excellent Nav). This is image of impacter hitting the comet.

Mike: A’Hearn: Thanks to the project mangers. I just have a coupla still images. As we were sending images off.. There are many more spectacular images yet to be revealed. Picture of the whole thing: comet: 5 kilometers across. close up image: scale of 7 meters per pixel. big crater has diameter of kilometer and a half. We have the highest resolution images of a comet *ever*. Flyby instruments worked flawlessly. Great spectra. Not going to show you those..too much to interpret them. MRI image of the impact. Deconvolution to sharpen it up. Our job has just started. presumably we have a picture of the crater. We’ll be working with the [something] over the next half day, and days and weeks and years. I look forward to working on this until I retire.

Q: BBC: re: crater image

A: We have only 10% of the data down. It’ll come down in the next day

Q: Is evolution of ejecta cone…?

A: Ejecta cone is still apparent.. 45 minutes later. that’s what came down 5 mins before we came over

Q: [missed] A: composition: unidentified spectral features

Q: Any info from hubbel, spitzer?
A: Brightness increase of 2 magnitudes which corresponds to a factor of 6…. they’re getting lots of results also

Q: Could you ahve pulled htis off withoput the radio telescopes in Australia [aussie newsman]
A: No, we could not have. We’ve been using those assets constantly over the last 6 weeks. Since it’s a one shot, we wanted to have overlapping coverage.
Q: [same guy] What message are you sending to the world by shooting a comet on the 4th of July
A: I don’t think we started to send a message at all, we’re performing a science mission. I hope that it’s made America proud, a lot of people said it couldn’t happen. We made it happen, it’s something to be proud of on America’s birthday…

Q [missed that, we have about 5 mins before they kick us out]
A: yes, we had to bother with it, because we didn’t know the final [something]. First ITM at 90 minutes out was 1.26 meters per second. 2nd one done… automatic navigation solution. Each time we did that, we got what the navigation solution was. Each one we got more confidence, that we were going to have a good day.

Q: New Scientist: Mike A’hearn, the size of that plume was at the high end of range of predictions. Anything to conclude already about sheer size of plume? Rule out anything?
A: I haven’t even had time to sit down w/ my cratering experts. Rules out really porous structures where you tunnel deeply, what I refer to as the aerogel capture scenario. Probalby rules out a strength-dominated cratering. But want to consult with the cratering experts on the team.

Q: surprised by the spot it chose
A: It chose the brightest spot, the algorithms were both aiming at that spot. That’s what was meant by the statement about 50 meters off. … We didn’t know what to expect.

Q: outburst during approach. compare them?
A: It was obviously a lot bigger. we haven’t had time to compare them. it requires a little bit more analysis.

Q: Was size/shape of comet dramatically different from expecting?
A: Since we didn’t knwo what to expect, it wans’t surprising. 6 hours before impact, you could see dark shadowed area. That was the kind of thing we expected. We expected it to be elongated. We’ll work on stereoscopic images to see how it was.

and now they’re throwing us out, so that concludes coverage here. Typos were FREE! ๐Ÿ˜€

One response to “Deep Impact Comet Bash, part 8 press conference”

  1. Learning The Lessons of Nixon » Don’t squeeze the comet

    […] 2020 Hindsight ยป Deep Impact Comet Bash, part 8 press conference “NASA-TV press conference RSN (real soon now). My name is Susan Kitchens, you smacked my comet. Prepare to type! […]