Feeds

Deep space COMET FLYBY: First PICS

Empty NASA space bomber in recce pass against 2nd target

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.