Deep impact on course for comet collision

A NASA spacecraft with a Hollywood name — Deep Impact — blasted off on a mission to smash a hole in a comet and give scientists a glimpse of the frozen primordial ingredients of the solar system. With a launch window only one second long, Deep Impact rocketed away at the designated moment on a six-month, 268-million-mile journey to Comet Tempel 1. It will be a one-way trip that NASA hopes will reach a cataclysmic end on July 4. Scientists are counting on Deep Impact to carve out a crater in Comet Tempel 1 that could almost swallow the Roman Coliseum. It will be humans’ first look into the heart of a comet, a celestial snowball still containing the original building blocks of the sun and the planets.