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More news from Stardust: scientists have now identified what they think is the crater produced by Deep Impact’s impact in 2005. Key quote:
The images revealed a 150-metre-wide crater at the Deep Impact collision point that was not present in 2005. The crater is a subtle feature in the images, but it appears consistently in multiple views from the spacecraft. “So I feel very confident that we did find the [impact] site,” said mission member Peter Schultz of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, at a press briefing on Tuesday. The crater’s features are “subdued” rather than sharply defined, like those of craters made in hard materials like rock. “The message is: This surface of the comet where we hit is very weak,” said Schultz. The crater also has a small mound in its middle, indicating that some of the material thrown up by the impact was drawn by the comet’s gravity back down into the crater, he said: “In a way, it partly buried itself.”