Feeds

Deep space COMET FLYBY: First PICS

Empty NASA space bomber in recce pass against 2nd target

Top three mobile application threats

NASA's former Deep Impact comet-bomber space probe, since renamed EPOXI* and reassigned to rendezvous with a second space snowball, has made a successful close pass by the comet Hartley 2.

Comet Hartley 2 pictured by the EPOXI mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Extraplanetary spaceball paparazzo-shot wondrousness.

"The mission team and scientists have worked hard for this day," said Tim Larson, EPOXI boffin at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. "It's good to see Hartley 2 up close."

According to space-agency spokesmen, "preliminary indications" are that EPOXI was about 700km from Hartley 2 at closest approach, roughly what had been planned. This was at just before 2pm UK time, and since then pictures and data have been beaming down from the craft to NASA's Deep Space Network receivers.

The Deep Impact spacecraft lifted off from Earth in January 2005, rendezvousing with the comet Tempel 1 in July that year and successfully smashing an impact probe into it, gaining valuable data on the makeup of the comet. NASA then assessed that the probe still had plenty of manoeuvring fuel left and that, by means of judicious low passes above Earth, it could be steered to a new rendezvous with another comet.

The most recent gravity-assist low pass above Earth took place in June, with the spacecraft picking up an additional 3,470mph of velocity as it zoomed just 19,000 miles above the South Atlantic before heading out into space once more in pursuit of Hartley 2.

There will be further briefings on the Hartley 2 pass later on NASA TV: full details and some more early pics can be seen here. ®

*Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization plus Deep Impact Extended Investigation

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.