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Emily LakdawallaSeptember 4, 2013

Deep Impact in trouble: last heard from August 8

A terse update on the status of the aging Deep Impact spacecraft was posted on the mission website this morning:

We have not received any of our expected observations of comet ISON due to a spacecraft problem. Communication with the spacecraft was lost some time between August 11 and August 14 (we only talk to the spacecraft about once per week). The last communication was on August 8. After considerable effort, the team on August 30 determined the cause of the problem. The team is now trying to determine how best to try to recover communication.

As long as controllers are communicating with a spacecraft, there is hope. When they are not in communication with a spacecraft, that's pretty scary. Good luck to the Deep Impact team on recovering the spacecraft for a future comet or asteroid encounter. It's a great little mission.

Tip of the hat to Amy Mainzer.

Deep Impact

NASA / JPL

Deep Impact

Deep Impact's last images

Emily Lakdawalla • May 27, 2014

Today I received an email notification of new public releases of some image data sets. I always love seeing new public space image data, but this notification was bittersweet: it included the first public release of the very last image data returned to Earth by Deep Impact, of a distant comet ISON.

The Deep Impact Mission is officially over

Emily Lakdawalla • September 20, 2013

Efforts to regain contact with Deep Impact have been ended. The last contact with the spacecraft was on August 8, 2013.

Still no contact with Deep Impact

Emily Lakdawalla • September 10, 2013

Oh, that dreaded phrase, "mission status report." It sounds so neutral, but it almost always means bad news. In this case, it's really bad: Deep Impact is not communicating with Earth.

Interplanetary eyes on the lookout for comet ISON

Daniel Fischer • August 09, 2013

Space blogger Daniel Fischer provides a preview of the exciting interplanetary observing campaign that has recently begun to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) from vantage points across the solar system.

New Deep Impact Hartley 2 data set

Emily Lakdawalla • May 03, 2013

Just messing around with a recently released processed version of the Deep Impact Hartley 2 data set.

Pretty picture: a moon transit

Emily Lakdawalla • February 21, 2013

A reader comment inspired me to dig up an oldie but a goodie: a sequence of photos of the Moon transiting Earth, seen from a very long way away,

Venerable Deep Impact spacecraft has photographed comet ISON

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2013

Deep Impact has made the first space-based observations of comet ISON.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2012

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

Deep Impact targets possible 2020 asteroid flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2012

Yesterday, Deep Impact performed a trajectory correction maneuver, firing its thrusters to line up for a flyby seven years from now. Here's a preview of that encounter.

What's up in the Solar System in August 2012

Jason Davis • August 03, 2012

Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?

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Read more: mission status, Deep Impact

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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