Deep Impact, the NASA spacecraft that watched a sister craft smash into the Comet Tempel-1, is now roaming the universe in search of extrasolar planets. Deep Impact still has another date with a comet, Hartley 2, but those observations won't start until 2010. During its downtime, scientists will use one of the probe's telescopes to examine some of the more than 200 planets that astronomers have discovered in orbit around nearby stars in recent years.
One of the first targets they've studied is planet HAT-P-4, one of the finds of the Hungarian automated telescope network built by Brilliant Ten winner Gaspar Bakos. A major advantage of Deep Impact is that it affords a different perspective than Earth-based observatories.
Via Discovery News
What tools does the spacecraft have on board?
has anyone ever thought of attaching something to an astroid to study the patterns or what goes on during a crash? it would save on fuel and money,
and could go further
Why not just attack a high-power telescope to an out-of-solar-system asteroid? You'll discover more planents that way and no need to waste fuel.
Let's not forget how difficult landings are on planets, never mind hitting a target that may be a mile or less across, and possess very little gravity. Technological challenges are immense to be sure, but I hope we do land on something like a comet in the next 10 years.