Rendezvous with Tempel 1

[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell]  Late last night Nasa’s Stardust NExT spacecraft swept past Comet Tempel 1 on the final leg of its 12-year mission.  The BBC reports that the spacecraft was about 180 km (110 miles) from the 7.5 km wide comet nucleus during closest approach – the earlier linked Nasa report more accurately records that closest approach at 181 km (112 miles). There was, of course, a much more intimate rendezvous with Comet Tempel 1 by the Deep Impact probe in 2005…  a probe which subsequently completed a successful …

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