Stardust Flyby of Comet Wild-2
November 26, 2013
I was on console in the spacecraft operations center in Denver for this. It blew my mind that we could display an image of Wild-2 on our workstation screen only about an hour after the flyby, which occurred 240 million miles away. It was so amazing to see what we had been driving our little spacecraft to for five years! And the spacecraft wasn't destroyed, as some had feared, even though we flew it within 140 miles of the coma. Got the sample and returned it to Earth two years later -- first ever.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.