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A team of renowned astronomers were brought on board as consultants for the movie “Deep Impact” to ensure that the comet science depicted in the film was as accurate as possible. Among the experts involved were Gene Shoemaker, the co-discoverer of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet, astronaut David Walker, Chris Luchini, and physics professor Joshua Colwell from the University of Central Florida.

Colwell emphasized the importance of maintaining scientific accuracy in the movie, noting that the filmmakers made a conscious effort to portray the events as realistically as possible while staying true to the storyline. The film showcases an attempt to deflect a comet and the creation of an underground shelter to protect a large number of people from the catastrophic impact. While these scenarios are plausible, they require significant resources and time to execute.

In addition to ensuring the accuracy of the comet’s appearance and size (seven miles across in the movie), the consultants also wanted to depict a realistic comet strike and its effects on Earth’s oceans. They made sure to show that astronauts near the comet would experience weightlessness and highlighted the spherical nature of celestial bodies with gravity due to isostatic adjustment.

The experts pointed out that the smallest spherical body with gravity in our solar system is Mimas, Saturn’s seventh-largest moon, measuring about 246 miles in diameter. Comparatively, the largest known comet, C/2014 UN271, has a diameter of only 1.2 miles. By incorporating these scientific principles and expert guidance, “Deep Impact” successfully portrayed a scientifically accurate representation of a comet impact scenario.