Launch of Deep Impact, 12 January 2005.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1.47.08 pm EST. On 4 July 2005 a refrigerator-sized probe from the Deep Impact mission struck Comet Tempel 1 at over 35,000 kilometers per hour, in an effort to see what the comet is made of. Comets like Tempel 1 are thought to have existed since the early days of our Solar System. Scientists suspect that frozen within these celestial nomads are the same chemical building blocks that lead to the formation of water - and life - here on Earth.