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Latest EPOXI Stories

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2009-05-26 06:45:00

Since the early 1990s astronomers have discovered more than 300 planets orbiting stars other than our sun, nearly all of them gas giants like Jupiter. Powerful space telescopes, such as the one that is central to NASA's recently launched Kepler Mission, will make it easier to spot much smaller rocky extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, more similar to Earth. But seen from dozens of light years away, an Earth-like exoplanet will appear in telescopes as little more than a "pale blue dot," the...

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2008-11-18 16:15:00

NASA has successfully tested the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet. Working as part of a NASA-wide team, engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking, or DTN, to transmit dozens of space images to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about 20 million miles from Earth. "This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications capability, an interplanetary Internet," said...

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2008-07-18 00:40:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has created a video of the moon transiting (passing in front of) Earth as seen from the spacecraft's point of view 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) away. Scientists are using the video to develop techniques to study alien worlds. "Making a video of Earth from so far away helps the search for other life-bearing planets in the Universe by giving insights into how a distant, Earth-like alien world would appear to us," said University of...

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2008-02-07 21:30:00

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft is aiming its largest telescope at five stars in a search for alien (exosolar) planets as it enters its extended mission, called Epoxi.  Deep Impact made history when the mission team directed an impactor from the spacecraft into comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. NASA recently extended the mission, redirecting the spacecraft for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010.  As it cruises toward the comet, Deep Impact will observe five nearby stars with...

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2008-01-08 11:47:18

NASA has approved the retargeting of the EPOXI mission for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010. Hartley 2 was chosen as EPOXI's destination after the initial target, comet Boethin, could not be found. Scientists theorize comet Boethin may have broken up into pieces too small for detection. The EPOXI mission melds two compelling science investigations -- the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization and the Deep Impact Extended Investigation. Both investigations will be...

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2008-01-01 09:20:00

LOS ANGELES -- A comet-busting NASA spacecraft zipped past Earth on Monday on its way to rendezvous with another comet in an extended mission that will also see it hunt for Earth-sized planets around a cluster of stars. The Deep Impact probe made the first of three flybys designed to use the planet's gravity to hurtle the spacecraft toward comet Hartley 2 for a 2010 meeting. At its closest, the spacecraft was 10,000 miles above Australia. "We're taking laps around the sun until the comet...

2007-12-14 06:55:36

A former comet-slamming spacecraft will swing by Earth on New Year's Eve before starting a two-and-a-half-year journey to Comet Hartley 2. Deep Impact will first spend six months using the larger of its two telescopes to search for Earth-sized planets around five candidate stars. The second part of its extended mission involves a flyby of Hartley 2 that allows close observations of the comet's features. "It's exciting that we can send the Deep Impact spacecraft on a new mission...

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2007-12-14 07:53:21

NASA has approved the retargeting of the Epoxi mission for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010. Hartley 2 was chosen as Epoxi's destination after the initial target, comet Boethin, could not be found. Scientists theorize comet Boethin may have broken up into pieces too small for detection. The Epoxi mission melds two compelling science investigations -- the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization and the Deep Impact Extended Investigation. Both investigations will be...

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2007-04-09 17:55:00

In July, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft released a probe that blasted a crater in comet Tempel 1, spilling its elements into space so scientists could discover its composition. The assault was justified because comets are thought to be leftovers from the formation of our solar system, so learning more about them helps to understand how our solar system came to be. Since those fireworks, the spacecraft has cruised silently through space, healthy and able to take on another mission, if...

2006-10-31 12:35:02

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - The surviving portion of the Deep Impact space probe that watched as its other half smashed into a comet on July 4 is being sent on a mission to study another comet. NASA announced Tuesday that it has accepted a proposal by the University of Maryland, which developed and manages Deep Impact, to send the vehicle on an extended mission to intercept Comet Boethin. Researchers hope information gathered from Boethin will help further the understanding of how comets formed...