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NASA's Deep Impact Keeps Date with a Comet

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft successfully crashed into Comet Tempel 1 early Monday. Scientists arranged the collision in an effort to learn more about the physical makeup of comets.

A wealth of data was produced by the collision, which researchers say they will be interpreting for weeks and months. The last image of the comet from the Deep Impact probe revealed a pocked, rocky surface of the comet's elongated core, shaped somewhat like a potato.

Despite the hopes of stargazers in the United States, the outer-space fireworks were hard to see from Earth without a big telescope.

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David Kestenbaum is a correspondent for NPR, covering science, energy issues and, most recently, the global economy for NPR's multimedia project Planet Money. David has been a science correspondent for NPR since 1999. He came to journalism the usual way — by getting a Ph.D. in physics first.