News Flash: Stardust Comet Hunter Snaps First Images

516869main_n30004te01-427 NASA's Stardust-NExT mission transmitted the first image it took during its approach to comet Tempel 1 at 8:35 p.m. PST (11:35 p.m. EST) on Feb. 14, 2011, from a distance of approximately 2,462 kilometers (1,530 miles). Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., have begun receiving the first of 72 anticipated images of comet Tempel 1 taken by NASA's Stardust spacecraft.

The first six, most distant approach images are available at and Additional images, including those from closest approach, are being downlinked in chronological order and will be available later in the day.

A news conference previously planned for 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST) will be held later today, to allow scientists more time to analyze the data and images. A new time will be announced later this morning.

More information about Stardust-NExT is available at

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell


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