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Last Updated: Thursday June 30 2005 10:37 GMT

Nasa probe on course to hit comet

Deep Impact, Pat Rawlings

US space agency Nasa says its Deep Impact spacecraft is set to smash a probe into a comet on 4 July.

Deep Impact is speeding its way towards the comet Tempel 1, 83 million miles from Earth, after a 173 day journey.

Deep Impact will release a probe into the path of the comet, and then take pictures of the crash, which will make a crater as big as Rome's Coliseum.

Scientists hope they can find out what comets are made of by looking at pictures of the big bust-up.

Comets

It's thought comets haven't changed very much since the formation of the solar system.

That means the make-up of a comet could hold clues to how the solar system was made.

The impact is set to happen at around 8am on Monday.