Enjoy This Throwback Fireworks Display from NASA

By Kiona Smith-Strickland on at

When it comes to fireworks, NASA doesn’t play around. A decade ago, it crashed a probe into a comet just to watch the cosmic display, and now they’ve turned that moment into a Vine.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the day NASA’s Deep Impact probe smashed into the surface of Comet Tempel-1 at 22,800 miles per hour. The impact carved out a crater several hundred meters wide and kicked a plume of debris, gas, and ice miles into space. Deep Impact’s mother ship was waiting out there with infrared cameras and spectrometers to get a good look at the chemical composition of the debris, which would tell scientists what the comet was made of. Comets are like frozen time capsules from the earliest days of the Solar System, so understanding their composition helps scientists understand how the Solar System formed and how the elements of life ended up on Earth.

Of course, it also made a really gorgeous explosion. You can watch NASA’s Vine here, because the Jet Propulsion Laboratory actually has a Vine account. Enjoy your fireworks.