[meteorite-list] Deep Space 1 Update - September 22, 2001
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:49:02 2004
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Deep Space 1 Mission Status
September 22, 2001
Deep Space 1's risky encounter with comet Borrelly has gone
extremely well as the aging spacecraft successfully passed within 2,200
kilometers (about 1,400 miles) of the comet at 22:30 Universal Time (3:30
p.m. PDT) today.
"The images and other data we collected from comet Borrelly so far
will help scientists learn a great deal about these intriguing members of
the solar system family," said Dr. Marc Rayman, project manager of Deep
Space 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It's very exciting to be
among the first humans to glimpse the secrets that this comet has held
since before the planets were formed."
Signals confirming the successful encounter were received on Earth
at 3:43 p.m. PDT, and data containing the first clues to the composition of
the comet came a few hours after the close brush with the comet.
Mission managers confirmed that the spacecraft was able to use all
four of its instruments at Borrelly. Data will be returned over the next few
days as the spacecraft sends to Earth black-and-white pictures, infrared
spectrometer measurements, ion and electron data, and measurements of
the magnetic field and plasma waves around the comet. Pictures of the
comet will be released after they are all sent to Earth in the next few
Several hours before the encounter, the ion and electron monitors
began observing the comet's environment. The action increased about an
hour and a half before the closest approach, when for two minutes the
infrared spectrometer collected data that will help scientists understand
the overall composition of the surface of the comet's nucleus. Deep Space
1 began taking its black-and-white images of the comet 32 minutes before
the spacecraft's closest pass to the comet, and the best picture of comet
Borrelly was taken just a few minutes before closest approach, as the
team had planned. Two minutes before the spacecraft whizzed by the
comet, its camera was turned away so that the ion and electron monitors
could make a careful examination of the comet's inner coma the cloud of
dust and gas that envelops the comet.
Scientists on Deep Space 1 hope to find out the nature of the
comet's surface, measure and identify the gases coming from the comet,
and measure the interaction of solar wind with the comet.
Deep Space 1 completed its primary mission testing ion propulsion
and 11 other advanced, high-risk technologies in September 1999. NASA
extended the mission, taking advantage of the ion propulsion and other
systems to undertake this chancy but exciting encounter with the comet.
More information can be found on the Deep Space 1 home page at
Deep Space 1 was launched in October 1998 as part of NASA's New
Millennium Program, which is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of
Space Science, Washington, D.C. The California Institute of Technology
manages JPL for NASA.
Received on Sun 23 Sep 2001 12:14:45 AM PDT