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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

Door 31 in the 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2010

Time to open the thirty-first (and next-to-last) door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these dark-rimmed craters?

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Small Worlds

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2010

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Small Worlds, about the smaller denizens of the solar system visited in the past year, and due to be visited in the next.

Deep Impact at Hartley 2: Two weeks after the flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2010

Today the Deep Impact/EPOXI science team held a press briefing that followed up on their very successful flyby of two weeks ago, a status report on what they can say so far about the science that's coming out of the encounter.

In which I finally write up last week's Deep Impact Hartley 2 press briefing

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2010

On Thursday, November 4, at 13:50 UTC, Deep Impact flew within 700 kilometers of comet Hartley 2. Hartley 2 is the smallest and most active of the five comets that have been directly by a spacecraft, and the first to be visited within the lifetime of its discoverer.

Hartley 2 compared to other comets, and in motion 3D

Emily Lakdawalla • November 05, 2010

I had to catch up with tasks left undone at home today and didn't have time to write up my notes from the Hartley 2 press briefing, for which I apologize. I'll leave you for the weekend with three cool Hartley 2 pictures.

Hartley 2's jets

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

It was a very happy set of scientists, engineers, managers, and administrators who filled the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Von Karman auditorium this afternoon to do the postgame show on Deep Impact's flyby of Hartley 2.

Animation of the five closest-approach Hartley 2 images

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Those of you who follow my blog must have known this was coming: now that I got all five new Deep Impact images of Comet Hartley 2 posted and explained, I had to make an animation. Here they are.

Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Here's the five close-approach images of Hartley 2 captured today, November 4, 2010, by the Deep Impact spacecraft, collected into one file. Boy, do these images reward close examination!

Close approach images of Hartley 2!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

What a dramatic and cool photo! An asteroid with two lobes like Borrelly, lumpy and bouldery like Itokawa, with gorgeous active jets, dramatically lit. Well done, Deep Impact team!

Deep Impact successfully passed closest approach, signal reaquired, data downlinking

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Just a very brief update to congratulate the Deep Impact team on what was apparently a successful flyby of Hartley 2!

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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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