ESA's Director of Science, Professor David Southwood, offered his congratulations to NASA's Deep Impact team, on a successful mission to Comet 9P/Tempel-1.
The Deep Impact spacecraft has completed its first steps in exploring a comet's interior by creating a crater with an impactor spacecraft, allowing the mother spacecraft to look deep inside the comet during a fly-by immediately afterwards.
"The Deep Impact mission brought the world together in an excellent opportunity make a new step into the advancement of cometary science," said Prof. Southwood today.
"The success of the Deep Impact mission will allowing us to use many space and ground observatories to look for the first time right inside a comet. As ESA, we are proud to be contributing to this campaign with some of our best sky-watchers - our Rosetta comet-chaser spacecraft, the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, as well as Hubble Space Telescope (which we share with NASA) - and with ESA's Optical Ground Station in the Canary Islands. The results are going to be a terrific help in planning Rosetta's comet landing a decade from now."
New data and results on Tempel 1 and the impact will continue to be received in the next hours and days. Follow us while we continue to cover one of the world's largest astronomical observation campaigns, which includes ESA and NASA spacecraft, European observatories and many co-operating organisations around the world.