Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fly-by Success!

The nucleus of Hartley 2.

Say hi to the peanut. JPL mission control had chosen Hartley 2 for a rendezvous precisely because of some of the more unusual nature of this comet. Discoveries made by today's close pass by the EPOXI spacecraft did not disappoint. Scientists have huge amounts of data to analyze in trying to understand what makes this beastie tick.

The EPOXI spacecraft flew by the comet at about a distance of 435 miles. The data they have looked at so far hints that they will be able to relate future dust outbursts to exact physical features on the comet surface.

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