WASHINGTON, July 4 -- NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft lived up to its name early Monday when it slammed into a comet with such force that the resulting blast of icy debris stunned scientists with its size and brightness.
With the flyby stage of the two-part spacecraft watching from a safe distance, an 820-pound, copper-core "impactor" craft smashed into the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 at 23,000 miles per hour, sending a huge, bright spray of debris into space...
The purpose of the $333 million mission was to make the most detailed study of a comet to date, striking the mountain-sized hunk of ice and rock, and creating a crater from which would spew some of the primal material that makes up its core. Depending upon the composition of the comet, scientists speculated that the impact could excavate a crater as large as a sports stadium or as small as a house.
Not that the technology couldn't be used for anti-ballistic missle applications, right?
I wonder if it would really cost $1/3 billion to do that to missiles.