Open Access

Deep Impact and sample return

  • Michael F. A’Hearn19Email author,
  • Michael J. S. Belton29,
  • Steven M. Collins39,
  • Tony L. Farnham19,
  • Lori M. Feaga19,
  • Olivier Groussin19,
  • Carey M. Lisse49,
  • Karen J. Meech59,
  • Peter H. Schultz69 and
  • Jessica M. Sunshine19
Earth, Planets and Space200860:BF03352762

Received: 12 September 2006

Accepted: 4 October 2007

Published: 12 February 2008


Returning a cold sample containing the ices from a cometary nucleus has long been an unachievable goal of cometary scientists. The results from the Deep Impact encounter with comet Tempel 1 suggest that the task is much easier than previously thought. Thus a cold sample return with ice becomes an achievable goal, at least from comet Tempel 1 and plausibly from other, active Jupiter-family comets.

Key words

Cometssample returnicenucleus