NASA Probe Closing in on "Poisonous" Comet Hartley 2
The probe formerly known as Deep Impact is about to make its closest pass by an oddly active comet spewing deadly cyanide gas.
Deep Impact is the probe that previously sent an impactor crashing into comet Temple 1 in 2005. EPOXI is a combination of the names for the two components of Deep Impact's extended mission: Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh) and Deep Impact eXtended Investigation (DIXI).
Swinging by the icy visitor at 27,000 miles (43,500 kilometers) an hour on Thursday, the probe will pass within 435 miles (700 kilometers) of Hartley 2's nucleus, taking some of the most detailed pictures yet of this unusually active comet.
The probe is equipped with a high-resolution imager, which can see in infrared wavelengths, as well as a medium-resolution imager, which acts as a backup and can see in visible light.
The spacecraft has been snapping scores of