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 July 7, 2005
NASA readies space probe to collide with comet
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PASADENA, Calif. Even with an 820-pound projectile, it's going to be a challenge for NASA to get a bull's-eye hit.

The Deep Impact spacecraft hopes to smash a hole in the speeding Tempel One comet, which is half the size of Manhattan.

The copper "impactor" -- about the size of a barrel -- is to be released around two a-m Eastern. A collision is expected 24 hours later. Researchers hope it will result in a plume that will offer them clues about the makeup of comets, and even the origin of the universe.

They'll be watching with powerful telescopes. Amateur astronomers in the western U-S and Latin America should also be able to view the impact through their own telescopes.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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