Images from the Stardust-NExT mission’s Valentine’s Day rendezvous with comet Tempel 1 began hitting the Web yesterday--there are 72 total images, but each one took a dial-up-worthy 15 minutes to download--with most of them depicting a grainy rock at a distance.
"A bullet hitting a bullet" is how NASA scientists described the Deep Impact mission. The 800-pound copper-and-aluminum impactor positioned itself in comet Tempel 1's path and, on July 4, slammed into it, offering a first-ever peek inside a comet. Sensors on the spacecraft that launched the impactor analyzed the detritus, which was packed with surprising ingredients such as carbonatesminerals typically formed in liquid waterand aromatic hydrocarbons, the principal ingredients of soot.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.