Thursday, January 20, 2011
Time to collect the bets on the size of the hole.
The unmanned programs are doing great though! Mark your calendar for Valentines day for the next event. If all works out, the recycled Stardust spacecraft will fly by comet Temple 1 and take some images of the hole that the Deep Impact spacecraft blasted in the comet's surface. When the copper chunk was shot at the comet in 2005, the debris cloud was too bright from reflected light that the hole couldn't be seen. The comet has also made another orbit around the sun since then, so the surface could be different also. Probably not a Bruce Willis "Armageddon" change, but we'll see.
I wonder how many people at the office would understand if you started a betting pool of the size of the dent in Temple 1? Erase the words "Seahawks vs. Bears" from that whiteboard and put up "Temple 1" crater size bets. Most of the people would probably stare at you funny, say "huh?" and back slowly away from you.
This all depends on the fuel remaining, there is just enough to steer the spacecraft and aim the camera at it, and it is approximately 186 million miles away on the other side of the sun, light distance is 40 minutes. The first images should be here at about 1:30am (PST) on Feb. 15.
My bet? I'm saying that Safeco Field could fit in the hole.
Posted by Tom