NASAs Stardust-NExT mission spacecraft is within a quarter-million miles (402,336 kilometers) of its quarry, comet Tempel 1, which it will fly by tonight. The spacecraft is cutting the distance with the comet at a rate of about 10.9 kilometers per second (6.77 miles per second or 24,000 mph).
A bonus round is something one usually associates with the likes of a TV game show, not a pioneering deep space mission.
NASAs Stardust spacecraft marked its 12th anniversary in space on Monday, Feb. 7, with a rocket burn to further refine its path toward a Feb. 14 date with a comet.
Just over two weeks before its flyby of comet Tempel 1, NASAs Stardust spacecraft fired its thrusters to help refine its flight path toward the comet. The Stardust-NExT mission will fly past comet Tempel 1 on Valentines Day (Feb. 14, 2011).
A new Comet Observing Planner tool has been added to the COBS website.
NASAs NEOWISE mission has completed its survey of small bodies, asteroids and comets, in our solar system. The missions discoveries of previously unknown objects include 20 comets, more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and 134 near-Earth objects (NEOs). The NEOs are asteroids and comets with orbits that come within 45 million kilometers (28 million miles) of Earths path around the sun.
NASAs Stardust spacecraft has downlinked its first images of comet Tempel 1, the target of a flyby planned for Valentines Day, Feb. 14. The images were taken on Jan. 18 and 19 from a distance of 26.3 million kilometers (16.3 million miles), and 25.4 million kilometers (15.8 million miles) respectively. On Feb. 14, Stardust will fly within about 200 kilometers (124 miles) of the comets nucleus.
NASAs Stardust-NExT spacecraft is nearing a celestial date with comet Tempel 1 at approximately 11:37 p.m. EST, on Feb. 14. The mission will allow scientists for the first time to look for changes on a comets surface that occurred following an orbit around the sun.
Comet C/2011 A3 (Gibbs) was discovered on 2011, Jan. 15.51 by Alex Gibbs (during the course of the Catalina Sky Survey) in four 22-sec exposures taken with the 0.68-m Schmidt on Mt.Bigelow.