Feeds

NASA's Stardust braves cometary flak

Survives photographic close encounter with Tempel 1

Boost IT visibility and business value

NASA's Stardust spacecraft has survived a close encounter with comet Tempel 1, during which it took a few substantial hits from cometary flak.

The craft passed within 111 miles of the comet at 20:40 p.m. PST on 14 February (04:40 GMT on 15 February), and has returned some impressive photos of the distant body.

Four views of Tempel 1 as seen by Stardust. Image: NASA

As well as 72 high resolution snaps of Tempel 1, Stardust collected data on the comet's tail, and engineering telemetry revealing it "flew through waves of disintegrating cometary particles including a dozen impacts that penetrated more than one layer of its protective shielding".

Don Brownlee, Stardust co-investigator from the University of Washington, said: "The data indicate Stardust went through something similar to a B-17 bomber flying through flak in World War II. Instead of having a little stream of uniform particles coming out, they apparently came out in chunks and crumbled."

Despite the rough ride, principal investigator Joe Veverka confirmed the mission had been "100 per cent successful". He added: "We saw a lot of new things that we didn't expect, and we'll be working hard to figure out what Tempel 1 is trying to tell us."

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?