NASA returns to comet it attacked (photos)
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ntIt’s about 587 trillion miles away but NASA has managed to visit comet Tempel 1 not once – but twice within the past six years. You may recall that Tempel 1 was first visited on July 4, 2005 when the spacecraft Deep Impact sent a probe that exploded on its surface.
ntNow, Stardust NExT sped within 112 miles of the comet to see what changes, if any, the explosion made to its surface. This photo was taken on Feb. 14, 2011 at 8:39 p.m. PST and received on Feb. 15, 2011.
ntComet Tempel 1 as Stardust NExT passed it by.
ntA little farther away.
ntThis image was taken just before its closest encounter.
ntHere’s an artist’s image of what Stardust NExT might have looked like as it approached Comet Tempel 1.
ntWhen we last viewed Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, it looked like this.
ntThis is what Deep Impact’s flyby spacecraft saw 50 minutes after its probe collided with Comet Tempel 1.
ntHere’s a group of photos showing the impact from the probe sent by Deep Impact.
ntThis map of comet Tempel 1 was made by scaling images taken by the NASA probe Deep Impact to about 5 yards per pixel. Arrows a and b point to large, smooth regions and the impact site is indicated by the third large arrow. NASA scientists say the comet’s surface is weaker than a snow bank.
ntNew photo of Comet Tempel 1 as seen by Stardust NExT.
ntComet Tempel 1 as first spotted by Stardust NExt.
ntNASA’s last comet encounter was with Hartley 2. NASA said analysis of the photos taken by its EPOXI spacecraft on Nov. 4, 2010 show about 1-inch to 1-foot particles of snow shooting from the comet’s surface.