- Associated Press - Thursday, November 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scientists say a NASA spacecraft braved a cosmic ice storm during a recent flight past a small comet.

Speeding at 27,000 mph, the Deep Impact craft flew within 435 miles of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4.

New findings released Thursday reveal that the comet was surrounded by chunks of ice ranging from the size of golf balls to basketballs.

Project manager Tim Larson of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory says it appears the craft was hit nine times by ice particles as it flew past. He says none were large enough to cause damage.


The mission marks the fifth time a comet has been viewed up close.