New imagery of comet released from Stardust
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: March 19, 2004
During the flyby, the highest resolution images ever taken of a comet's nucleus were obtained and have been the subject of intense study since the flyby. A short exposure image showing tremendous surface detail was overlain on a long exposure image taken just 10 seconds later showing jets (above).
"This spectacular composite image shows a surface feature unlike any other planetary surface see to date in our solar system", says Prof Donald Brownlee, the Stardust Principal Investigator from the University of Washington. "Other than our sun, this is currently the most active planetary surface in our solar system, jetting dust and gas streams into space and leaving a trail millions of km long."
Two other images are shown as a stereo pair and also as a red/green stereo anaglyph (below).
"The overall shape of the nucleus resembles a thick hamburger patty with a few bites taken out", says Thomas Duxbury, the Stardust Project Manager from JPL. "The surface has significant relief on top of this overall shape that reflects billions of years of resurfacing from crater impacts and out gassing".
Preliminary scientific results obtained from the Wild 2 encounter are being presented at the Lunar and planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas by the Stardust science team.
Stardust will bring samples of comet dust back to Earth in January 2006 to help answer fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system. Additional information about the mission is available online at
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado, built and operates the Stardust spacecraft. The principal investigator is astronomy professor Donald E. Brownlee of the University of Washington in Seattle. Stardust is a part of NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, highly focused science missions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
Get e-mail updates
Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop (privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose).
INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE
© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.