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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 encounter with Hartley 2 is beginning; flyby in 17 hours

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2010

According to the mission timeline, the Deep Impact high-resolution observations of Hartley 2 are beginning in just a few minutes, at 20:50 according to the clock on the spacecraft.

Deep Impact movies of outbursts from Hartley 2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 01, 2010

Since comet Hartley 2 -- the target of Deep Impact's November 4 flyby -- is near its perihelion, it's no surprise that it's an active comet with lots of outbursts.

Three days until Deep Impact's encounter with Hartley 2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 01, 2010

The week is finally here: Deep Impact flies past Hartley 2, the smallest comet yet to be visited by a spacecraft, on Thursday, November 4 at 13:50 UTC.

Arecibo images show Hartley 2 is elongated

Emily Lakdawalla • October 29, 2010

Comet Hartley 2, the target for Deep Impact's close flyby (now just six days away!) made its closest approach to Earth on October 20, at a distance of 17.7 million kilometers.

A couple of tidbits from today's Deep Impact preview briefing

Emily Lakdawalla • October 26, 2010

Today was the press briefing that previewed the upcoming Deep Impact flyby of Hartley 2.

Deep Impact approaching Hartley 2

Emily Lakdawalla • September 22, 2010

The Deep Impact spacecraft team has released a third image from their approach to comet Hartley 2, and for me, three images is an invitation to make an animation!

Deep Impact snaps first image of flyby target comet Hartley 2

Emily Lakdawalla • September 08, 2010

Deep Impact is rapidly approaching its next -- and final -- target, comet Hartley 2, which it will fly by on November 4.

Report from the Exploration of Near-Earth Objects Objectives Workshop - Day 2

Bruce Betts • August 11, 2010

It's day 2 at NASA's Exploration of Near Earth Objects (NEO) Objectives workshop (ExploreNOW).

Planetary Society Advent Calendar for December 30: Tempel 1

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2009

Looking over the list of planets, moons, and smaller bodies I posted so far, I realized I didn't have an image of a comet yet.

The "Water on the Moon" Hoopla, Part 2: The murkier part of the story

Emily Lakdawalla • September 25, 2009

How much water is there on the Moon, and is it in a form that human explorers could use? This part of the story has many more questions and many fewer definite conclusions.

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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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