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Emily LakdawallaNovember 2, 2011

Deep Impact goes for the deep sky

I love it when old spacecraft get pushed to perform feats that weren't part of their original missions. Today, the EPOXI mission -- which (then named Deep Impact) originally flew past Tempel 1, then used one out-of-focus camera to study extrasolar planets, then was retargeted to comet Hartley 2 last year -- posted some neat deep-sky images taken as a part of an operational training exercise. Deep Impact is capable of a second extended mission, but what it is hasn't been decided yet. Clearly, there are a lot of things that this spacecraft is capable of doing!

NGC 6960, The Veil Nebula

NASA / JPL-Caltech / UMD

NGC 6960, The Veil Nebula
This image, a mosaic of two frames from Deep Impact's Medium Resolution Imager, were acquired by the EPOXI mission as part of an operational training exercise.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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