Its amazing that the amount of hype that the recent Deep Impact mission generated is not even 10% of the hype generated by venus transit '2004. To me, its almost surreal to think that we have reached a stage where we can device such simple experiments and carry them out with what used to be called a heavenly body till recently. After all, there's not much difference in either the objectives or the strategy of this impact experiment or a simple material science lab impact experiment that studies the properties of the substance targeted. Forget all the fancy spectrophotometric studies sitting under the atmosphere (or slightly above it, circling the Earth), we can now just take a cannon, go near a comet and hit it hard and find out what really is it made of (and how exactly is it made of whatever it is made of). Till a few years ago, I used to be so excited whenever a naked-eye comet used to appear in the sky with its (more often than not) long tail. I'll probably still be excited when I get to see a particularly bright comet among the stars again, but it will be a different kind of excitement.. It'll be as if I have been there.. It won't be like looking at Aishwarya Rai anymore.. it will be like meeting an old friend after a long time... I KNOW what it is.. I have seen it in one of its special moments!!!
(Photo courtesy: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)