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NASA Plans Close Encounter With a Comet (Tempel 1)

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posted on Jan, 19 2011 @ 11:09 AM

A NASA spacecraft is hoping for sweet science on Valentine's Day when it makes a close flyby of the comet Tempel 1.

A high-resolution camera on NASA's EPOXI spacecraft captured stunning images of part of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The sun is illuminating the nucleus from the right, and a distinct cloud of individual particles is visible. This image was obtained on Nov. 4, 2010, the day the EPOXI mission spacecraft made its closest approach to the comet.

Launched in February 1999, the industrious spacecraft Stardust-NExT zipped by comet Wild 2 in January 2004, flying through the comet's coma and snagging particles from that celestial wanderer. Two years later the probe parachuted its sample-carrying capsule into the Utah Test and Training Range in the Utah desert.

The still-operating craft -- renamed Stardust-NExT, for "New Exploration of Tempel 1" -- is en route to inspect Tempel 1, a task begun by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft six years ago. Stardust-NExT's job is to obtain high-resolution images of the comet and, it is hoped, the crater that was made when Deep Impact's impactor slammed into Tempel 1 in July 2005. At the time, the stirred-up debris cloud obscured the view of any newly formed feature.

Here at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, all is in readiness for the upcoming encounter. The aerospace firm has been NASA's industrial partner for Stardust throughout its two-mission life, having designed, built, integrated and tested the spacecraft. Company engineers monitor the health and safety of the spacecraft, develop and send commands over NASA's deep space network, and plan mission activities.


There is so more great info in the main article.

I love this stuff. I find it interesting that comets and the alike are getting so much attention.

I still say GO BACK TO THE MOON and establish a base there-as a jump off point to further out missions. I think it would save on fuel for sure.

I never heard of this rock. Anyone?

Good Luck NASA.

posted on Jan, 19 2011 @ 04:33 PM
Aw, come on now, where are the good ole' ATS Comet/Fake Space body people at?

Doesn't anyone else think it is a bit odd that we are trying to land on this one, and others?

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