Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New views of comet Tempel 1

NASA has rescheduled a news conference to discuss Monday night's successful flyby of comet Tempel 1 for 3:30 p.m. EST today.

Click on the NASA TV box at right to watch it live.

NASA's 12-year-old Stardust spacecraft, flying a second mission named Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel 1), flew within 112 miles of the comet visited six years ago by the agency's Deep Impact spacecraft.

Due to a technical glitch, 72 science images returned to Earth in chronological order, not as commanded with the five closest-up photos arriving first. NASA has posted about half of them here, including some showing a white mark that may be the man-made crater left behind by Deep Impact.

Scientists will discuss the flyby's preliminary findings just 12 hours after the first image and data from a comet dust collector were being beamed back.

IMAGE: Comet Tempel 1 as Seen by NASA's Stardust at 11:39 p.m. EST Monday. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

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