Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

First image from Stardust! ...but a delay for the close-approach ones

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

15-02-2011 2:25 CST

Topics: mission status, comets, comet Tempel 1, Stardust

Here it is, the first second image from Stardust of Tempel 1 during the close-approach phase:

Stardust's first close-approach image of Tempel 1

NASA / JPL / UMD

Stardust's first close-approach image of Tempel 1
Stardust took this image of comet Tempel 1 at 04:35 UTC on February 15, from a distance of approximately 2,540 kilometers.

The good news is that they have all their images, and according to Stardust's navigation team, they all have the comet centered in the field of view. The bad news is that for reasons as yet unknown, their command to prioritize the five images bracketing closest approach for transmission to Earth first did not work; instead the 72 images appear to be coming down in order, with number 34 or so being the one shot at closest approach. Since it takes nearly 15 minutes to transmit each image, it'll be hours before the close-approach ones come down. They may have to delay tomorrow's press briefing in order to give the science team time for interpretation.

If I were younger, I might stay up to watch them come down from the spacecraft one by one. But I'm tired. So I'm going to go to bed, and hope to see some great images at this page on JPL's website when I wake up.

Congratulations to the team on an evidently successful flyby! And goodnight!

 
See other posts from February 2011

 

Or read more blog entries about: mission status, comets, comet Tempel 1, Stardust

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

LightSail - Flight by Light

Support LightSail!

In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.

I want to help!

Featured Images

Philae's landing site in 3D

Hayabusa-2 spacecraft
Curiosity in-situ science targets at Confidence Hills, sols 758-771
The Confidence Hills work area at the edge of Pahrump Hills outcrop, Curiosity sol 777
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!