Classrooms, Museums Invited on Comet Encounter – Nov 4, 2010

NASA’s EPOXI mission is one week away from its flyby of comet Hartley 2. Students and educators can watch live Web coverage of the encounter on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, from 6:30 to approximately 8 a.m. PST (9:30-11 a.m. EST). They also can send questions in advance about the comet encounter to jplspaceeducation@gmail.com. QUESTIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY TUESDAY, NOV. 2. Due to program constraints, not all questions will be answered.

This flyby will be only the fifth time in history that a comet has been imaged close up. At point of closest approach, the spacecraft will be about 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the comet. EPOXI is an extended mission that uses the already “in-flight” Deep Impact spacecraft, which made its own cosmic fame when it released a small impactor into the path of comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005.

The program will offer live coverage from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission control, where viewers will hear from scientists and engineers as they receive real-time data and images about the comet encounter. The program also will feature a roughly 20-minute education portion, featuring videotaped demonstrations of comet activities for the classroom and time to answer questions sent in by classes and other educational organizations. Details are provided below on the program content and suggested preparatory materials.

For program information and comet-related activities, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm?page=209

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