On July 4, 2005, NASA’s Deep Impact mission smacked an 800-pound block of copper into a comet.
That’s pretty cool all by itself. But the science behind the mission was to find out what happens when a comet is hit, what materials a comet is made of, and what materials lie beneath the surface. I wrote a series of posts about the mission (here, here, and here) back when it happened.
I also flew down to LA to do an interview for a British TV show called Star Date. The interviewer was rock star/physicist Brian Cox, and we had a smashing (har har) time talking about how Hollywood portrays asteroid and comet impacts. We sat on the roof of a hotel and chatted about the movie "Deep Impact". After much woe (converting VHS tapes! Converting VOB files! Uploading! Downloading! Fire! Destruction! And I still couldn’t get the frackin’ aspect ratio right), I was finally able to put the interview up on YouTube.
This was just a bit of fun, but it was excellent meeting Brian. I hope to do more with him in the future; I can see we have very similar vision on how science should be presented to the public.