Dennis Wellnitz

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Deep Impact collided with comet Tempel 1, excavating a crater controlled by gravity. The comet's outer layer is composed of 1- to 100-micrometer fine particles with negligible strength (<65 pascals). Local gravitational field and average nucleus density (600 kilograms per cubic meter) are estimated from ejecta fallback. Initial ejecta were hot (>1000(More)
On 25 October 2000, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous (NEAR)-Shoemaker spacecraft executed a low-altitude flyover of asteroid 433 Eros, making it possible to image the surface at a resolution of about 1 meter per pixel. The images reveal an evolved surface distinguished by an abundance of ejecta blocks, a dearth of small craters, and smooth material(More)
We present an overview of the dust coma observations of Comet Tempel 1 that were obtained during the approach and encounter phases of the Deep Impact mission. We use these observations to set constraints on the pre-impact activity of the comet and discuss some preliminary results. The temporal and spatial changes that were observed during approach reveal(More)
Deep Impact images of the nucleus of Comet Tempel 1 reveal pervasive layering, possible impact craters, flows with smooth upper surfaces, and erosional stripping of material. There are at least 3 layers 50–200 m thick that appear to extend deep into the nucleus, and several layers 1–20 m thick that parallel the surface and are being eroded laterally.(More)
The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely(More)
We report the direct detection of solid water ice deposits exposed on the surface of comet 9P/Tempel 1, as observed by the Deep Impact mission. Three anomalously colored areas are shown to include water ice on the basis of their near-infrared spectra, which include diagnostic water ice absorptions at wavelengths of 1.5 and 2.0 micrometers. These absorptions(More)
From February 13 to May 13, 2000, the Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIS) instrument on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission obtained more than 200,000 spatially-resolved 800 to 2500 nm reflectance spectra of the S-type asteroid 433 Eros. An important subset of the spectra were obtained during a unique opportunity on February 13 and 14, when the(More)
Understanding how comets work--what drives their activity--is crucial to the use of comets in studying the early solar system. EPOXI (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation) flew past comet 103P/Hartley 2, one with an unusually small but very active nucleus, taking both images and spectra. Unlike large, relatively inactive(More)
When Earth-mass extrasolar planets first become detectable, one challenge will be to determine which of these worlds harbor liquid water, a widely used criterion for habitability. Some of the first observations of these planets will consist of disc-averaged, time-resolved broadband photometry. To simulate such data, the Deep Impact spacecraft obtained light(More)
Introduction: We improve and extend the effective spectroscopic dataset for Eros acquired by the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft to better understand the properties and geologic processes of the asteroid. We improve the Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIS) calibration by remediation of internally scattered light and extend its(More)