A NASA spacecraft has beamed back the first close-up photos from its rendezvous with a comet — and the images show an ice ball that looks like a giant chicken drumstick, or perhaps a peanut or bowling pin.
Deep Impact zoomed to within 435 miles (700 kilometers) of Comet Hartley 2 at 10:01 EDT (1401 GMT) this morning (Nov. 4), and the probe beamed down its first close-up shots an hour later. [First close-up photos of Comet Hartley 2.]
Cheers erupted in the Mission Control room of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as five high-resolution images flashed up on a big screen. In the photos, the comet, which is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, looks like a big chicken drumstick, or a peanut. [Another photo of Comet Hartley 2.]