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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

The "Water on the Moon" Hoopla, Part 1: There's water on the Moon!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 25, 2009

For a couple of weeks now, I've been hearing rumors about an upcoming announcement concerning Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper ("M3") discovery of "lots of" water on the Moon.

Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Alan Stern • May 18, 2009

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

A lack of information for a Deep Impact update

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2005

I had very much hoped to be able to post an update about the Deep Impact mission this week, but it looks like my various sources are keeping very very quiet (or maybe they are just tired of me pestering them :)

A Deep Impact update

Emily Lakdawalla • July 28, 2005

We haven't forgotten about Deep Impact, but there's still no word on the crater size.

Deep Impact Sets a New Course as Tempel 1 Returns to Normal

Emily Lakdawalla • July 20, 2005

With its mission at Tempel 1 over, the Deep Impact spacecraft has altered its course in order to allow a future mission at another comet.

Deep Impact Data Surprises Scientists

A.J.S. Rayl • July 12, 2005

When Deep Impact crashed into the nucleus of Tempel 1 at 23,000 miles per hour on July 4, it sent a huge, bright cloud of stuff upward and outward from the comet, providing a spectacular image that is already assured a place in the space history books, and may well be seared into the brains of all those who watched the event.

Another gorgeous Deep Impact image

Emily Lakdawalla • July 06, 2005

The team has just released a really pretty high-resolution view of Tempel 1 just 67 seconds after the impact.

Reflecting on Deep Impact

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2005

So yesterday, after covering the Deep Impact press conference at JPL and recording for Planetary Radio, my husband and I drove to his parents' house for an Independence Day barbeque. When I explained the nature of the Deep Impact mission my mother-in-law exclaimed, "What! What gives you the right to go around smashing up a comet that was minding its own business?"

Rockin' to Bill Haley and his Comets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2005

There was a stage set up on the steps of the administration building, and the quad in front of it was filled with JPLers of all ages and descriptions. Rick Grammier and Don Yeomans introduced the band -- five guys, all members of the band since 1953 or earlier, still rockin' and rollin'.

News: Deep Impact Delivers the Science; Years of Work Ahead for Science Team

Emily Lakdawalla • July 04, 2005

"Our cratering experiment went very very well," reported impact scientist Peter Schultz in what may have been the understatement of the weekend. A first look at early science results from the mission suggest that while some events unfolded according to scientists' predictions, Tempel 1 provided many enticing surprises as well.

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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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