Hey, Let's Crash Here!
* Talk about fireworks! NASA is preparing to slam an 820-pound probe into a comet 83 million miles from Earth and then see what happens.
The camera-equipped missile will crash into the comet Tempel 1 about 2 a.m. Monday at a speed of 23,000 miles per hour. Scientists expect that the impact will cause a deep crater but acknowledge it could blow the comet to smithereens. The probe, about the size of a coffee table, will transmit pictures up until a few seconds before impact. The flash from the collision could be visible to the naked eye in some parts of the country (but not in the Washington area).
Scientists hope the information they get from the comet will further their understanding of how the solar system formed about 41/2 billion years ago.
More science news: Do you have plans for April 13, 2036? Mark your calendar, because an asteroid named 2004MN4 could plow into Earth that day.
Astronomers say 2004MN4 will pass within 30,000 miles of Earth in 2029. Depending on how close it comes, the asteroid's orbit could be altered enough to threaten a collision in 2036.
Some space experts want to launch a mission to prove it's possible to alter the path of an asteroid and prevent a collision.