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Emily LakdawallaFebruary 14, 2011

Stardust flies by Tempel 1 in 5 hours, and I'll be watching!

Stardust is very close to the last major act of its mission: the flyby of Tempel 1, which will take place at 20:40 PST (04:40 UTC). Here's a summary of the recent and current status of the mission, and how to follow the events over the next 24 hours. But before that, here's Stardust's final optical navigation photo of the comet:

Tempel 1, 42 hours before Stardust's flyby

NASA / JPL / UMD

Tempel 1, 42 hours before Stardust's flyby
This is the last optical navigation data taken by Stardust before its February 15, 2011 encounter with Tempel 1. It is a stack of five images of the comet. Mission scientists believe that they can detect the nucleus within these most recent images.

The current status was summarized in a press release from JPL and in several mission status updates.

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Read more: mission status, comets, comet Tempel 1, Stardust

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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