The U.S. space agency says data from the Deep Impact comet collision reveals that an immense cloud of fine, powdery material was released when the impactor probe crashed into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4.

The Deep Impact project investigator Michael A'Hearn said Friday that the major surprise of the mission was finding that the dust churned up by the collision was more like talcum powder than beach sand. Most scientists expected the surface of the comet to be covered with ice. Scientists say the new finding suggests that the comet was formed gradually.

NASA is reviewing thousands of photos of the crash taken by both the impactor probe and the fly-by spacecraft. The Deep Impact mission was designed to gather information about the sub-surface of comets and give scientists possible insight into the origins of the solar system.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.